A Determining Factor In DUI Cases

As is the case in other U.S. states, Texas DUI laws are based on a driver’s blood alcohol level at the time he or she is pulled over by law enforcement officers. Blood alcohol level is also referred to as blood alcohol concentration or BAC.

It is important to note that all drivers in Texas are legally required to submit to chemical testing if law enforcement makes the request. The amount of alcohol in the blood is most commonly measured using a Breathalyzer test in the field after a traffic stop. Additional testing of the driver’s blood and urine may also be performed at a later time.

While tests determining intoxication levels are more scientific than field sobriety tests, their results can also be questioned in DUI cases. An experienced DUI lawyer has insight into the means by which results from blood alcohol level tests may be challenged to contest a DUI.

Legal Limits For Blood Alcohol Level

In Texas, like all other states, a driver is considered intoxicated if his or her blood alcohol level is .08 or higher. This is not the only designation, however, for concentrations as they relate to DUI offenses. For example, additional rules apply to specific classes of drivers:

  • Drivers who are under the age of 21. Individuals under the age of 21 may be charged with a DUI when registering a BAC as low as .02. This “zero tolerance” policy is in line with many states throughout the country. The intent of the very low threshold is to allow for DUI citation at the mere trace of alcohol in a person’s system.
  • Commercial drivers. Truck drivers and other commercial transportation service providers may be charged with a DUI if they are determined to have a BAC exceeding .04 while working.

It is important to understand that drivers who are below the legal limit in a BAC test are not necessarily exempt from DUI charges. A person who blows a .06 in a Breathalyzer test, for example, may still be cited for a DUI based on a law enforcement officer’s observation of a motorist’s erratic driving. Additionally, anyone declining to participate in field sobriety or chemical tests can be cited for a less safe DUI.

Challenging The Results Of BAC Testing

Attorneys representing clients accused of driving under the influence routinely challenge BAC test results. In fact, this strategy can be among the most effective for mounting a successful DUI defense. It is common that tests are improperly administered or that defective testing equipment causes false readings.

If you have been charged with DUI on the basis of a BAC test, it is important to understand how the assessment may impact your prospects for fighting a DUI charge. An attorney can provide this information and work with you to develop a defense strategy that can prove effective given the circumstances of your case.