The Texas statutes set forth precise requirements for a conviction on DWI charges. The state must prove each of these statutory requirements in Fort Worth DWI cases beyond a reasonable doubt. Failure to definitively establish any element according to this high standard of proof can result in a dismissal or reduction of the charges against you.
Various defenses may be available in your DWI case, including issues related to the proper administration of breath tests, field sobriety tests, and more. Potential violations of your constitutional rights in executing a traffic stop and arrest can also lead to ways to challenge your DWI charges. A criminal defense lawyer may be able to assist you in fighting back against DWI charges.
Defining Intoxication in Fort Worth DWI Cases
Under Texas Penal Code § 49.04, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated. Tex. Pen. Code § 49.01(2) defines intoxication as occurring in either of the following situations:
- Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more
- Impairment of mental or physical faculties due to the presence of alcohol, controlled substances, drugs, or a combination of substances in the body
Officers can measure the BAC of drivers through breath, blood, or urine tests. However, law enforcement officers must have specialized training to administer them properly. In some cases, officers can make errors due to lack of training or carelessness, which can lead to inaccurate test results.
Other Statutory Requirements for DWI Charges
Securing a conviction under the DWI statutes in Fort Worth also requires evidence that the accused operated a motor vehicle. Nonetheless, there are no requirements that law enforcement officers physically see the suspect driving. Evidence demonstrating that the accused had been operating a vehicle previously is sufficient to establish this statutory element.
For example, if police officers find an individual passed out in the driver seat of a motor vehicle with the keys in the ignition, they can reasonably conclude that the individual was driving. In this situation, an officer most likely has grounds to charge the individual with DWI, assuming that they had evidence to support the other statutory requirements.
Similarly, the statute covering Fort Worth DWI cases requires proof that the accused was operating the motor vehicles in a public place. All roads, streets, highways, alleyways, and even parking lots may qualify as public places. The only exception might be if the individuals were driving solely on private property owned by them or on which they were lawfully present.
Tex. Pen. Code § 32.34(2) defines a “motor vehicle” as a device that individuals use to transport people or property that can travel on highways. This definition excludes devices that solely travel on rails. Motor vehicles include not only cars, trucks, SUVs, and buses, but also golf carts, when operated in public places.
Ask an Attorney About Requirements Under the DWI Statute in Fort Worth
The penalties for DWI can be severe and impact your future personal and professional life. Fines, license suspensions, incarceration, and a permanent criminal record can all negatively affect your job and educational prospects. Ensuring that law enforcement officials have met the statutory requirements in Fort Worth DWI cases can be an instrumental part of your defense.
A criminal defense lawyer may be able to investigate the facts surrounding your DWI arrest and ensure that law enforcement officials have not violated your rights. If authorities fail to meet their burden of proof, a skilled lawyer could advocate to a quick resolution to your charges.