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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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Four Medical Conditions That Can Be Mistaken for IntoxicationIf you are stopped on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, the police officer will be looking for signs that you may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Besides the telltale odor of alcohol, symptoms of intoxication include slurred speech, watery eyes, and appearing disoriented. However, there are pre-existing medical conditions that may cause these same symptoms without you being intoxicated. Even a breath alcohol test can be tainted by a medical condition. An officer will likely assume that these symptoms are due to intoxication, and it may not occur to you to mention your medical condition during your stop. You need to tell your DWI defense lawyer if you have any of the following conditions:

  1. Diabetes: A person with diabetes can function normally as long as they keep their blood sugar at a stable level. If their blood sugar falls too low, they can become irritable, dizzy, and disoriented – all of which the officer could interpret as intoxication. Additionally, people with diabetes may have an abnormally high amount of ketones in their breath, which a breath test may mistake for alcohol.
  2. Brain Injury: Suffering a brain injury can cause symptoms that never fully go away. The victim may always have trouble with speaking, short-term memory, and coordination. Your friends and family may understand that this is how you normally behave, but a police officer does not know that and may conclude that you are intoxicated.
  3. Epilepsy: People with epilepsy can suffer seizures without warning. If a seizure happens while they are driving, they could get into a serious accident or be forced to pull over. A police officer who encounters someone having a seizure may see a person who is unresponsive, distracted, dizzy, or even violent. They may arrest the person on suspicion of DWI without knowing that the person is suffering a medical emergency.
  4. Dementia: Dementia is a degenerative mental condition, meaning that the symptoms will progress over time. A person in the early stages of dementia may occasionally be confused, unresponsive, or irritable. A police officer may conclude that an intoxicating substance is causing this behavior and not a mental condition.

Contact a San Antonio DWI Defense Lawyer

You can be held criminally responsible for traffic violations and reckless driving if you knew that you have a medical condition that can impair your driving. However, this is different from a DWI charge, which must involve drugs or alcohol. A San Antonio DWI defense attorney at the Law Offices of Sam H. Lock can present your medical history to show that there was another explanation for your apparent intoxication. To schedule a free consultation, call 888-726-5625.

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What Signs Are Police Watching For During a DWI Stop?Police suspicion that you may be driving while intoxicated can start from the moment you are pulled over. Erratic driving suggests to them that you might be impaired, and the time of night and proximity to drinking establishments may further their suspicions. However, suspicions and police intuition about your driving are not enough reason to immediately demand a sobriety test or arrest you for DWI. The officer will observe your appearance and behavior to determine whether there is probable cause for an arrest.

Your Appearance

Officers are familiar with the visual cues that a driver may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, such as:

  • Bloodshot or watery eyes;
  • Dilated pupils;
  • Flushed face;
  • Sweating;
  • An odor of alcohol or drugs; and
  • An unkempt appearance.

A combination of any of these symptoms will raise suspicion, but each one could have an explanation that is unrelated to alcohol or drugs. You may be sweating or have bloodshot eyes if you are sick or tired. While being sick or tired can impair your driving ability, the consequences are not the same as being under the influence of an intoxicating substance. The smell of alcohol or drugs is more difficult to explain. It is possible that the odor could be coming from a current or recent passenger who was drinking or using drugs.

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