What does “intoxicated” mean?

You need not be drunk to be “intoxicated,” but if you are drunk, you must be intoxicated.

“Intoxicated” Defined

“Intoxicated” is defined by the DWI statute in three ways:

  • First, you are “intoxicated” when you have lost the normal use of your mental or, second, physical faculties by ingesting an alcoholic beverage, a drug, a controlled substance, or any combination thereof. The law makes no distinction between the use of prescribed medication and illegal narcotics for the purposes of DWI intoxication.
  • Additionally, there is no requirement that you actually intended to become intoxicated.
  • Third, you are “intoxicated” when you have a breath or blood alcohol concentration of .08 or more in your body at the time of the vehicle operation. There is no per se level of intoxication as it relates to ingesting a drug or a controlled substance.

“Intoxicated” is a Guessing Game

Whether or not you have lost normal use of your mental and physical faculties, the real issue is the efficacy of police officers in their attempts to assess your level of intoxication.

What may affect the faculties of one person may not, necessarily, affect the faculties of another, at least not to the same degree. Many variables come into play such as weight, food consumption, and even gender. We all absorb alcohol differently so what may appear to be intoxication to an officer in one circumstance may not be in another.

Because intoxication’s cause is not limited to consuming alcohol, it cannot always be measured by taking a blood alcohol level. This inability to measure intoxication in a consistent factual manner across substances, leads to an unfair guessing game played by police officers when stopping a person suspected of operating a vehicle while “intoxicated” in the state of Texas or suspected of being “intoxicated” publicly.

Proving Intoxication

Police officers occasionally have a difficult time conclusively proving intoxication but will typically report that an individual smelled of alcohol, sounded intoxicated via slurred speech, or acted in a drunken or intoxicated demeanor. These judgments, however, are often both inaccurate and unreliable.

It’s hard enough for people who are more experienced in witnessing intoxication to accurately identify  when a person is intoxicated, which is the case with bartenders. However, the determinations of police officers lead to convictions and can possibly send innocent people to jail and ruin their lives.

One of our expert Houston DWI lawyers can make sure that you are not taken advantage of or tricked by police officers. We have enough experience with improper charges stemming from perceived intoxication to know that the word of a police officer is not always accurate and sometimes they make mistakes and send innocent people to jail.

If you or a loved has been charged or arrested for a DWI, or have been improperly charged for public intoxication, don’t wait another moment. Contact Trichter & Murphy 24/7 for a free consultation. We will work to get you the best result possible.