Texas DWIs: Important Legal Terms for This Memorial Day

Texas-DWIs-Important-Legal-Terms-for-This-Memorial-Day-199x300Do you know your DWI alphabet soup? If you or a loved one is facing a criminal charge for driving while intoxicated, the terms and definitions in this article might just come in handy.

Drunk and Impaired Driving Offenses

  • DUI – Driving under the influence
  • DWI – Driving while impaired or intoxicated
  • OMVI – Operating a motor vehicle while impaired
  • OUI – Operating under the influence
  • OUID – Operating under the influence of drugs
  • OUIL – A term referring to operating a vehicle while under the influence of liquor.
  • OWI – A term that refers to the operation of a vehicle while impaired.
  • Per Se Offense – This term refers to a drunk driving charge that relies solely on the results of a blood alcohol content test.
  • UBAL – Refers to the unlawful blood alcohol level of a driver
  • Administrative Penalty – This is a sanction that can be imposed by an administrative agency without a corresponding criminal prosecution. Suspension of driving privileges and mandated drug or alcohol classes are examples of administrative sanctions.
  • BAC – Blood alcohol content levels usually measure the ratio of milligrams of alcohol to every 100 milliliters of blood.

Testing Devices

  • BAC Datamaster – This breath analysis device provides a measurement of blood alcohol with the aid of infrared spectroscopy. These low-maintenance devices are not necessarily accurate.
  • Breathalyzer – This breath analysis device provides an estimate of blood alcohol based on a chemical analysis of a breath sample. These devices are being phased out by many states due to inaccurate results and the availability of more advanced technology.
  • Intoxylizer – This breath analysis device estimates blood alcohol based on infrared spectroscopy.
  • Intoximeter – This device utilizes fuel cell technology, infrared spectroscopy, or both to measure breath alcohol concentration.
  • PBT – Preliminary Breath Test devices are used by the police to estimate blood alcohol concentration in the field. PBT results are usually not admissible in court.

Field Sobriety Tests

The police may choose to administer one or more of the following Roadside Sobriety Tests to establish the need for additional testing or probable cause to make an arrest:

  • Divided Attention Test – The suspect is asked to follow instructions while performing simple physical movements.
  • Counting – The suspect is asked to count forward or backward by ones or threes.
  • Finger to Nose – The suspect is asked to touch the tip of their nose with an index finger with head tilted back, eyes closed and arms stretched out to the sides.
  • Reciting the Alphabet – The suspect is instructed to recite the alphabet either forward or backward.
  • Standing on One Leg – The suspect is asked to stand on one leg with the opposite foot suspended about six inches above the ground while counting aloud by thousands.
  • Walking a Line – The suspect is asked to walk a straight line on a flat, even surface.
  • Walk-and-Turn – The suspect is instructed to take nine steps along a straight line while walking heel-to-toe.
  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus – A police officer watches for exaggerated jerking of the eyeball as the suspect’s eyes gaze to the side.

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About the Author

Law Office of James Alston. serves people who need legal assistance in their Criminal Defense Cases in Texas.

Houston Criminal Lawyer James Alston represents clients in the Houston area, including Pasadena, Sugar Land, Missouri City, Channelview, Conroe, Galveston, Angleton, Richmond, Rosenberg, Beaumont, Galveston County, Ft. Bend County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County, Harris County and Jefferson County in Texas.