Intoxicated Meaning In Texas Legal Limit

People think that intoxication only involves getting drunk or alcohol. But Texas has laws that have a more complicated view of what it means to be intoxicated. That means that a person you may assume is intoxicated may not be intoxicated according to the law.

What Does Intoxicated Mean?


Texas law defines “intoxicated” in 3 ways:

  • Drugs, substances, and alcohol: Intoxication has to do with the impairment of your normal behavior or mental function. This may be as a result of taking alcohol, a controlled substance, drugs, dangerous drugs, or a combination of these substances. So, in DWI situations there is no difference between prescribed medication and illegal narcotics.
  • Intention:  You don’t have to intend to be intoxicated for you to be deemed intoxicated.
  • BAC: People found with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or more when driving, are considered to be intoxicated. There is no specified level of intoxication for other substances such as drugs.

Can Police Officers “Measure” Intoxication Accurately?

Police officers may not be able to efficiently assess your level of intoxication. That means determining whether a person has lost the normal use of their mental and physical faculties may be a guessing game. This is because not all people are affected by substances like alcohol to the same degree.

Variables such as body size or weight, food consumption, and even gender can determine how these substances affect a person. People absorb alcohol differently.

Measuring blood alcohol levels may also not produce accurate results because there are several other causes of intoxication. That means that there is no consistent and factual manner that can measure intoxication by all substances. This is why police often rely on their gut or suspicions to determine whether a person is operating a vehicle while intoxicated or is “intoxicated” publicly.

Can Police Prove Intoxication?

Since it is easy to conclusively prove that a person is intoxicated, police often resort to stating that an individual had slurred speech, smelled of alcohol, or behaved in a manner to suggest they were intoxicated. But these conclusions are subjective or inaccurate.

Even bartenders have a difficult time detecting that someone is intoxicated. Despite this, officers that are determined to get convictions often end up sending innocent people to jail. An experienced DWI lawyer knows the tricks police officers use to take advantage of innocent people.

Your lawyer can tell if your DWI charges stem from perceived intoxication. They know when an officer’s conclusions about your state of mind during a stop are sometimes based on inaccurate observations. This is why it is always a better idea to contact a DWI lawyer as soon as possible after you are arrested for a DWI.

Consequences Of DWI Charges

A DWI charge can not only lead to legal consequences but also collateral consequences. People convicted of a DWI often have to pay fines and may spend some time in jail.  They also experience stigma from their communities.

Stigma can involve getting fired from your job, not being accepted for a job, and  being rejected by a landlord.