DWI/DUI Practice Center

DWI FAQs

Carabin Shaw attorneys who have handled alcohol-related cases in Texas, answers some of the most common questions on driving while intoxicated and related Texas state charges.

FAQs -- Driving While Intoxicated in Texas

What signs of intoxication do officers and state troopers watch for? The federal Department of Transportation puts out a DWI Detection manual as a training tool for police departments. The manual suggests that officers watch for behaviors or maneuvers that make a vehicle stand out, particularly after dark. They include:

  • "Weaving" between or within lanes
  • Suddenly swerving for no apparent reason
  • Unnecessarily or unsafely wide turns
  • Narrowly missing hitting a fixed object or another vehicle
  • Making jerky stops, or stops too far or too close to the target
  • Gaining or losing speed quickly for no apparent reason
  • Driving in the wrong direction for the lane or the street
  • An unusually slow reaction to traffic lights and signs
  • Ignoring or responding too slowly to police directions
  • Sudden stops not prompted by any obvious need
  • Driving without headlights at night
  • Not signaling turns, or a signal that's wrong for the turn being made
  • Driving on the sidewalk, shoulder or other inappropriate place
  • Littering, yelling or leaning out the window
  • Problems with equipment, such as burned-out lights or a missing license place
  • Driving after registration has expired
  • Driving too slow for conditions or slower than the prevailing speed of traffic

How many drinks does it take to become legally intoxicated? Chart for Females

Number of Drinks
Body
Weight .....Number of Drinks
............... 1 ..2 .....3 ....4 ....5 ....6 ....7 .....8 .....9 ....10 ...11 ...12
-90 lbs .053 .106 .159 .212 .265 .318 .371 .424 .477 .530 .583 .636
100 lbs .047 .094 .141 .188 .235 .282 .329 .376 .423 .470 .517 .564
110 lbs .042 .084 .126 .168 .210 .252 .294 .336 .378 .420 .482 .504
120 lbs .038 .076 .114 .152 .190 .228 .266 .304 .342 .380 .418 .456
130 lbs .036 .072 .108 .144 .180 .216 .228 .252 .324 .360 .396 .432
140 lbs .033 .066 .099 .132 .165 .198 .231 .264 .297 .330 .363 .396
150 lbs .031 .062 .093 .124 .155 .186 .217 .248 .279 .310 .341 .372
160 lbs .028 .056 .084 .112 .140 .168 .196 .224 .252 .280 .308 .336
170 lbs .027 .054 .081 .108 .135 .162 .189 .216 .243 .270 .297 .324
180 lbs .025 .052 .078 .104 .130 .156 .182 .208 .234 .260 .286 .312
190 lbs .025 .050 .075 .100 .125 .150 .175 .200 .225 .250 .275 .300
200 lbs .023 .046 .069 .092 .115 .138 .161 .184 .207 .230 .253 .276
210 lbs .022 .044 .067 .088 .110 .132 .154 .176 .198 .220 .242 .264


Chart for Males

Number of Drinks
Body
Weight .....Number of Drinks
............... 1 ..2 .....3 ....4 ....5 ....6 ....7 .....8 .....9 ....10 ...11 ...12
100 lbs .038 .075 .113 .150 .188 .225 .263 .300 .338 .375 .413 .450
110 lbs .034 .066 .103 .137 .172 .207 .241 .275 .309 .344 .379 .412
120 lbs .031 .063 .094 .125 .156 .188 .219 .250 .281 .313 .344 .375
130 lbs .029 .058 .087 .116 .145 .174 .203 .232 .261 .290 .320 .348
140 lbs .027 .054 .080 .107 .134 .161 .188 .214 .241 .268 .295 .321
150 lbs .025 .050 .075 .100 .125 .151 .176 .201 .226 .251 .276 .301
160 lbs .023 .047 .070 .094 .117 .141 .164 .188 .211 .234 .258 .281
170 lbs .022 .045 .066 .088 .110 .132 .155 .178 .200 .221 .244 .265
180 lbs .021 .042 .063 .083 .104 .125 .146 .167 .188 .208 .229 .250
190 lbs .020 .040 .059 .079 .099 .119 .138 .158 .179 .198 .217 .237
200 lbs .019 .038 .056 .075 .094 .113 .131 .150 .169 .188 .206 .225
210 lbs .018 .036 .053 .071 .090 .107 .125 .143 .161 .179 .197 .214
220 lbs .017 .034 .051 .068 .085 .102 .119 .136 .153 .170 .188 .205
230 lbs .016 .032 .049 .065 .081 .098 .115 .130 .147 .163 .180 .196
240 lbs .016 .031 .047 .063 .078 .094 .109 .125 .141 .156 .172 .188

What signs of intoxication do police officers look for after stopping someone? The federal Department of Transportation's DWI Detection training manual suggests that law enforcement watch for these signs after pulling over a suspected DWI:

  • Problems with hand-eye coordination when handling license, insurance or vehicle controls
  • Problems getting out of the car or truck
  • Repeating statements or questions
  • Problems with balance or steadiness
  • Using the car or another object to stand upright
  • Inability to speak clearly
  • Not responding to the officer or asking the officer to repeat questions
  • Inconsistent or false answers to the officer's questions
  • A smell of alcohol from the driver

If I failed a breath test, why shouldn’t I just plead guilty and not risk taking my case to trial?
Failing a breath test does not mean that you will automatically be found guilty and/or not guilty. Over the years, Carabin Shaw attorneys have tried breath test cases. There are many possible defenses, even when you tested over the legal limit.

I didn’t refuse to take the breath test, so why did the cop say I refused?
The police are taught to call it a refusal if you do not take a breath test for any reason, or if you take too long during the administration of the test. But don’t let it bother you. A breath test refusal can be one of your strongest arguments at trial for a "not guilty" verdict.

Will the judge be harsher with me if I go to trial and get found guilty?
The judge cannot legally do that. And in the vast majority of cases, the judge will not.

Why should I take my case to trial?
If you plead guilty, you have no hope of being found not guilty.

If I plead guilty, won’t the record of the conviction just go away after a while anyway?
Probation is a final conviction. It does not go away -- ever. Deferred adjudication, an arrangement in which you fulfill conditions of probation in exchange for dismissed charges, is not available for DWI charges in Texas. Call Carabin Shaw to discuss your other options.

I have a pilot’s license. How does a DWI arrest affect my flying privileges?
The FAA has specific requirements for reporting an arrest and conviction for a DWI. You must report any negative action on your driver’s license to the administration, or you can lose your pilot’s license. You must also report any administrative suspension of your driver's license by the Department of Public Safety. The pilot’s license may be suspended or revoked upon conviction for DWI.

I was arrested for being drunk on my own boat. Is that legal?
Boating while intoxicated is a separate law from driving while intoxicated, but Texas law provides the same punishments. Your boat doesn't have to be a motorboat for you to be cited for boating while intoxicated. If you've been arrested for this, call Carabin Shaw today for help.

Intoxication Assault

I was involved in an auto accident on the night of my DWI arrest, and someone was injured. What’s going to happen to me?
It's a felony in Texas when an intoxicated person, simply by accident or mistake, causes serious bodily injury to another while operating a car, a boat or an airplane in a public place. "Serious bodily injury" means injury that creates a substantial risk of death, or that causes serious permanent disfigurement, protracted loss of bodily functions or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ. The punishment is two to 10 years in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000. We can help, but contact our office as soon as possible.

What can I do if I am faced with this type of offense?
You should hire an experienced DWI attorney in criminal law. In this type of case, the prosecution must prove you were driving while intoxicated before they can get a conviction for intoxication assault. Also, because DWI is a “lesser included offense” for intoxication assault, an experienced lawyer may be able to get the charge reduced. Call Carabin Shaw to learn more.

What kind of judge hears this type of case?
An intoxication assault case will be tried in a district court. Because it's a felony, a conviction will result in the loss of your right to vote and your right to carry arms. It could also hurt your standing in society. Depending on the court, we may be able to get you probation options or shorter sentences.

How long does someone go to prison for this type of offense?
Texas law gives a range of two to 10 years in prison for intoxication assault. However, probation is a common sentence for less serious offenses. Defendants who do go to prison are eligible for parole after serving some portion of the sentence, but if the judge believes the vehicle was a “deadly weapon,” they must serve at least one-half of their sentences before they can be paroled.

Intoxication Manslaughter

What is intoxication manslaughter?
Intoxication manslaughter is charged when an intoxicated person causes a death while operating a car, boat or airplane in a public place. It is a felony crime carrying two to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. The judge may choose to grant probation.

What can I do if I am charged with this type of offense?
You should hire a DWI lawyer who has at least 20 years of experience in criminal law. The main reason is that the state must first prove you were driving while intoxicated before an intoxication assault conviction is possible. An experienced lawyer may be able to obtain a reduction of the charge.

Put Carabin Shaw attorneys to work protecting your rights today.

Located in San Antonio, we represent clients charged with DWI, DUI and other drunk driving violations in Bexar County and all of the surrounding areas. We also offer bail bond service and can advise you throughout the bail process.

Contact Carabin Shaw today for experienced representation in driving while intoxicated (DWI) legal matters. Your first consultation is free, so send us an email or call us today at 210.222.2288.

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