Criminal Defense and Title IX
Attorneys Austin, TX

Can I Get a DWI in Texas if My BAC is Under 0.08%?

Our experienced Austin DWI defense lawyers explain the rules

A DWI conviction can result in severe consequences including hefty fines, jail time, community service, probation, and mandatory alcohol education programs. But did you know that you don’t have to meet the legal BAC threshold to be charged with driving while intoxicated? It may not seem fair, but in Texas the penalties for a low-BAC DWI are the same as an over-the-limit DWI.

That’s why it’s important to take a low-BAC DWI charge seriously. We can help advocate for your rights and freedom. If you were arrested for DWI in Central Texas, contact Botsford & Roark for a free case evaluation to learn more about your rights and legal options.

Reasonable suspicion of DWI

In the Lone Star State, you can be charged with DWI even if you are not over the 0.08% legal limit because of the way Texas defines intoxication. According to Texas law in the context of operating a motor vehicle, intoxication means “not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body; or having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.”

Take low BAC stops seriously

To make a DWI arrest when a driver's BAC is not high enough to trigger an automatic drunk driving charge, the involved officer must carefully observe for any signs of potential intoxication, such as slurred speech or impaired balance. Any one of these signs could be enough for an officer to confirm their “reasonable suspicion” and make a DWI arrest. Here are some things to avoid during a DWI traffic stop:

  • Do not run. Attempting to escape from a traffic stop is a serious offense and can result in additional criminal charges. Pull over to the side of the road and stop in a safe location. Stay in your vehicle unless instructed otherwise.
  • Admit nothing. Never admit to drinking or using drugs, even if you've consumed alcohol. Politely exercise your right to remain silent and refrain from self-incrimination. Identify yourself and address but avoid providing more information than necessary.
  • Body language is important. Standing up straight and maintaining good posture can convey sobriety and cooperation. Slouching or swaying may be perceived as signs of impairment. Other things an officer might mistake for a “sign” of intoxication include avoiding eye contact, leaning against the vehicle, and making exaggerated or erratic gestures. Maintain a composed and controlled demeanor.
  • Field Sobriety Tests are voluntary, Breathalyzers are not. In Texas, refusing a breathalyzer or blood BAC test can result in an arrest and suspension of your driver's license, even if you are not ultimately convicted of DWI.
  • Comply. Follow the officer's instructions regarding license and registration, stepping out of the vehicle, and other procedures. Stay calm and respectful. Not complying or arguing can lead to resisting arrest charges.
  • Do not consent to a search. While it’s a good idea to comply when it is required, you have the right to refuse a search of your vehicle without a warrant. Politely decline any requests for searches.
  • Contact a DWI defense attorney. Remember your rights, including the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. Use them but do so politely and calmly.

Our legacy is to protect yours

Regardless of BAC test results, a DWI conviction in Texas can have serious ramifications on your life. Having the right legal team on your side can make all the difference. Contact Botsford & Roark for a free case evaluation. Our DWI defense lawyers have decades of experience defending clients accused of crimes in Central Texas. We know the nuances of how individual county justice systems work and how to make them work for you.

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