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San Antonio DWI defense attorneyTo many people, the assumption has always been that being pulled over for driving while intoxicated (DWI) was almost always the result of driving after drinking one-too-many alcoholic beverages. While that might be the most common reason for being charged and even convicted for DWI, the truth is that there are plenty of other legitimate reasons you might be pulled over for DWI and yet not have to deal with a breathalyzer or another blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level test, among other things. That is because the most critical element of a DWI arrest is proof of impairment, and impairment is not just caused by alcohol. Here are some other reasons you might be pulled over for DWI due to impairment.

All the Ways You Might Be Impaired While Driving

A recent NHTSA report suggests that nearly 20 percent of all drivers might be impaired by any number of substances at any given time. For example, in addition to alcohol, you might experience some type of impairment if you are using any one or a mix of the following substances:

  • Marijuana—While marijuana use for adults is legal in some states, it still causes some types of impairment. This is contrary to popular misconceptions that suggest marijuana can actually make you a better driver. This is clearly untrue; marijuana has been shown to cause:
    • Lack of coordination
    • Poor judgment
    • Slow reaction times
    • Trouble multitasking
  • Cocaine and methamphetamine—These two stimulants, which are illegal, lead to the following impairments:
    • Aggressiveness
    • Recklessness
  • Prescription drugs and Over-the-Counter Medications—While these are not by any means illegal (unless you obtain them illegally), they do cause many impairments depending on how your body reacts to them and the dosage. For instance, some of these medicines might cause the following:
    • Excessive drowsiness and sleepiness
    • Substantial dizziness
    • Whichever other side effects the medicine label warns about that could impair your driving
  • Mixing any drugs with each other or alcohol—Doing this often creates an even larger effect, accentuating all the impairing side effects that make driving so dangerous when using them.

Contact a San Antonio DWI Lawyer

As you can see, being pulled over for DWI due to any type of impairment—and not just excessive alcohol consumption—can lead to charges and a strong case against you. That is why you need to retain representation from a skilled San Antonio criminal defense attorney. Call the Law Offices of Sam H. Lock at 888-726-5625 for a free consultation about DWI to learn more about how this experienced team can win your case. 

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San Antonio DWI defense attorneyIt is late. You are drunk and far away from home. You know driving at this stage of drunkenness would be illegal, but you also cannot afford the money necessary to get all the way back home from where you are. What are your options? Call a friend or family member? “Sleep it off” on a public bench and risk being arrested? Risk driving home anyway and then eventually getting charged with DWI (driving while intoxicated) or worse depending on what happens while you are driving drunk? There is another option all across Texas, including the “Sobering Unit” at Roberto L. Jimenez M.D. Restoration Center (“Drunk Tank” for “down-and-outs”) in San Antonio. These sobering centers offer a compelling alternative for both law enforcement and drunk civilians, including those contemplating driving home drunk. Here is why.

“Sobering Center” Defined

Sobering centers are seen as intermediaries between actual arrests with legal consequences for drunkenness that disrupts the peace and expensive hospital visits for excessive drinking. In short, these sobering centers are short-term recovery facilities where drunk or otherwise inebriated civilians can “sleep it off” and get a chance to regain their sobriety less the headaches of the morning after with the option to continue with recovery programs and other treatment options.

What Makes Sobering Centers a Productive Alternative to DWI?

While originally intended as a means to get drunk people off the streets and into recovery programs, should they choose, the sobering centers have proven themselves useful in many ways to many people for a multitude of different reasons: 

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San Antonio intoxication manslaughter attorneyDWI (driving while intoxicated), DUI (driving under the influence), and even BWI (boating while intoxicated) are all common charges throughout the San Antonio area. However, one charge is not discussed nearly as often and yet has very serious consequences, in and outside of the courtroom: intoxication assault. Here is how Texas law defines intoxication assault, including its associated terminology and penalties.

Intoxication Assault Defined

Per Section 49.07 of the Texas Penal Code, a person commits intoxication assault if that person causes serious bodily injury to another: 

  • While operating an aircraft, watercraft, or amusement ride while intoxicated;
  • While operating a vehicle in a public place while intoxicated; or
  • As a result of assembling an amusement ride while intoxicated.

There are two key phrases in this definition of intoxication assault: "while intoxicated" and "serious bodily injury." In terms of operating motor vehicles or other modes of transportation while intoxicated, in Texas, an adult of the age of 21 or older cannot operate such a vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher. When that happens, a charge of driving while intoxicated (DWI) is filed against the intoxicated driver; however, compound that with “serious bodily injury” of someone else, and there is intoxication assault.

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Has COVID-19 Reduced the Number of DWI Arrests in Texas?Many people expected the number of arrests in Texas for driving while intoxicated to decrease this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are a couple of factors that seem to logically point towards this:

  • Many restaurants and bars have been closed, which reduces the number of people driving home after drinking.
  • People are more likely to stay at home as a precaution to avoid infection.

News reports in the early months of the pandemic suggested that DWI arrest numbers had dropped, but it seems that was only a temporary effect. A recent story on DWI arrests in San Antonio claimed that the number of arrests from Jan. 1 to July 6 was down only four percent from the same period last year – 2,255 arrests in 2019 and 2,168 arrests in 2020. 

Reasons Behind the Numbers

Why has the number of DWI arrests in Texas not decreased as people predicted? There are a few possible explanations:

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How Texas DWI Enforcement Applies to MotorcyclesFor riders throughout the U.S., motorcycles are more than a means of transportation. Owning and riding a bike can be a hobby, passion, and part of your identity. However, you need to remember that motorcycle riders follow the same laws for driving while intoxicated as everyone else on the road. If you are caught operating your bike with a blood alcohol concentration greater than 0.08 percent, you will face a misdemeanor criminal charge that could result in jail time, a fine of as much as than $2,000, and a driver’s license suspension. The suspension would also affect your eligibility to operate other vehicles.

Signs of DWI on a Motorcycle

Operating a motorcycle requires a different set of skills than driving a car, including the ability to keep yourself balanced and shift your body during turns. Because of this, police officers are looking for different signs that may indicate motorcycle riders are intoxicated. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration describes these signs as “cues” and has two categories of cues that it instructs officers to watch for in motorcycle riders. According to an NHTSA study, “excellent cues” predicted a motorcycle DWI half of the time and include:

  • Difficulty keeping balance when stopped or dismounting the bike
  • Drifting during turns and curves in the road
  • Unsteady turns
  • Unnecessary weaving
  • Inattention to surroundings
  • Erratic behavior

There is another set of “good cues,” which predicted a motorcycle DWI in 30 to 50 percent of cases. They include:

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Office

Bexar County

In the historic King William District

1011 S. Alamo,
San Antonio, Texas 78210
210-226-0965
888-726-5625 Toll Free
210-226-7540

Office

Guadalupe County

109 Court Street,
Seguin, Texas 78155
830-372-1522
888-726-5625 Toll Free