Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)

If you are pulled over by a law enforcement officer in Texas and they suspect that you may be Driving While Intoxicated, they most likely will request that you perform a series of Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST's) to determine whether you may have been driving impaired. The amount of alcohol found in your bloodstream is referred to as your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level. This BAC level is a measurement that assess the amount of alcohol found in your bloodstream. If arrested for DWI in Texas, your BAC level can have a considerable impact on the penalties that may result from an arrest (and possibly later a conviction) for Driving While Intoxicated.  For an approximate measurement of your BAC level at various intervals after consuming alcohol, you can check here.  However, it should be noted that any particular BAC level depends upon a variety of factors, including: age, weight, gender, amount of food consumed, amount/type of alcohol consumed, body type, and/or differing metabolic factors.

An experienced Texas DWI Defense Attorney should be able to ascertain an approximation of your particular BAC level after evaluating some of the factors mentioned above. According to current Texas DWI Law, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle if a chemical test is obtained and your BAC level measures a .08 or above...however, this amount has to correlate to the actual the time of driving! If your BAC measures less than .08 at the time the chemical test is obtained, you still most likely will be arrested for DWI (once under arrest, they cannot "un-arrest" you!). To read more about why this may happen, and for a general guideline related to common DWI FAQ's, please click HERE

Regardless of a lower BAC level, law enforcement officers likely will believe that while your driving may not have been impaired by alcohol, it might have been impaired, such as through the use of drugs or another intoxicating substance. As well, even if your BAC level is below a .08 at the time of the test, prosecutors usually try to do what is called a retrograde extrapolation. A retrograde extrapolation is a calculation that is performed by an expert for the state to try and determine that, taking into account the alcohol elimination and absorption rates, the individual most likely was above a .08 at the time of driving. 

A non-alcohol DWI charge is usually harder for the state to prove. In non-alcohol related DWI trials, the arresting officers usually will testify to any abnormal behavior observed in the time leading up to, during, and after the DWI arrest and investigation. Sometimes they will conduct an extensive "DRE" investigation that consists of a 12-step analysis that attempts to determine the level of impairment from the non-alcohol intoxicating substance. Very few police officers, however are fully qualified as a "Drug Recognition Expert" (DRE), so this would only occur if an officer that is properly trained in the procedure is readily available.

You will also face more serious charges if your BAC level is determined to have been above a .15 (or greater). A BAC of a .15 (or higher) can lead to additional surcharges, a possible requirement of ignition interlock on your vehicle as a condition of your bond and/or as a condition of probation, and the charge being filed as a Class A Misdemeanor (even though it may just be be a 1st-time DWI arrest, which traditionally have only been classified as Class B MIsdemeanors). The Texas Legislature enhanced the penalty in September 2011 to this enhanced range of punishment for those arrested for DWI where it is determined that the BAC level was a .15 (or higher). To read more about this new change in the law, you can find more information here.  

Based on all of these increased ranges of punishment, and based on how failures of chemical tests can lead to more serious charges (BAC results determined to be a .15 or higher) - all illustrate the logic for why one SHOULD ALWAYS CHOOSE TO REFUSE to submit to the taking of a chemical specimen, either via the taking ofa breath or blood. If the arresting officer threatens you with obtaining a blood search warrant...simply choose this alternative. Often they will not want to go through the process to actually get a blood search warrant, because the process from start to finish can often take some time to actually obtain. If they do, it usually will take a lengthy amount of time to complete the blood search warrant requirements, which has to be properly signed by a Judge. By this time it is likely your BAC level will be lower by virtue of the elimination of alcohol, which could help your case substantially.

If the arresting officers do obtain a search warrant, you are in no worse position than had you merely given your consent in the first place. Remember, the burden is on law enforcement to properly obtain and execute a search warrant for the blood draw. If a blood search warrant is obtained, we can still attack it in court to make sure it was properly obtained, and everything relevant included. Do not help make the job of the arresting officer any easier to increase the chances of obtaining a conviction. Make them do their job, and ALWAYS REFUSE.  


The Law Offices of Carl David Ceder is an aggressive DWI Defense Law Firm, and has the experience, training, and skills necessary to properly evaluate your case in a complete and thorough manner. Please call now at 214.702.CARL(2275) or at 469.2000.DWI(394) if you are in need of an aggressive Texas DWI Defense Attorney who will do everything possible to advocate to protect your rights. Carl and his legal staff understand the specific complexities and nuances of Texas DWI Defense, and our goal is always to help effectuate the best outcome possible based on the factors involved of any given case. Contact The Law Offices of Carl David Ceder by calling 214.702.CARL (2275) or 469.2000.DWI(394). Phones should be answered 24 hours a day/7 days a week for immediate and personal assistance.