What is the Difference Between Impaired Driving and Drunk Driving?

In Texas, there is a difference between impaired driving and drunk driving. It is a crime to do either, but the way the state defines intoxication is having lost the normal use of mental or physical faculties. And you don’t have to be drunk to commit the offense. If you are over the age of 21 and the police suspect impairment due to the introduction of any intoxicating substance, it is grounds for investigation.

Impaired driving and drunk driving explained

Now, because the crime is determined by a loss of normal physical or mental faculties, the range of what is considered normal for every person plays an instrumental role in your defense. If you are able to function at your normal capacity — even if you have had a drink or taken medication — then it’s possible for a Houston DWI attorney to argue that you have not committed the crime in question. When it comes to impaired driving and drunk driving, the concept of “normal” when gauging a DWI is not a hard and fast measurement. Everyone has a different mode of functioning, which determines their normal abilities.

The unmeasurable quality of what constitutes a normal use of faculties is why our Houston DWI attorneys also recommend that you respectfully decline field sobriety tests and breathalyzers. Although these kinds of tests provide a certain measure of impairment, experienced criminal attorneys know that they are not completely accurate interpretations of intoxication. Additionally, the field sobriety test does not account for nervousness or other conditions that may affect your ability to complete the exam with 100 percent accuracy.

If you get pulled over for a suspected DWI and are operating with your normal faculties, then the best thing you can do is stay calm, be polite and avoid nervous behavior. The implications of a DWI are severe, which is why it is important to hire an experienced defense attorney in Houston.