Defense Lawyers for Dallas DWI
Texas Penal Code § 49.04(a) makes it a crime to operate a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated. Unlike most criminal statutes, the prosecutor is not required to prove a culpable mental state. For this reason, defenses such as insanity or lack of intent do not apply in this class of cases.
The offense must occur in a “public place,” which has been defined broadly to include not only roads and highways, but also common areas of—for example—schools, hospitals, apartment buildings, office buildings and shopping centers to which a substantial portion of the public has access. Even with this broad definition, certain areas that are not open to the general public—such as the driveway of a private residence—may not be considered “public places.”
The term “motor vehicle” includes any device that operates on a highway, but not vehicles that run on fixed tracks. The Texas Penal Code does not specify what it means to “operate” a motor vehicle. Although it has been defined broadly to include any action “to affect the functioning of a vehicle in a manner that would enable the vehicle’s use (Denton v. State, 911 S.W.2d 388, 390 (Tex. Crim. App. 1995)), Texas courts have not agreed on particular actions included in this definition, and an experienced Dallas criminal attorney can make all the difference.
“Intoxication” may be proven by demonstrating either:
- That the defendant did not have the normal use of his or her mental or physical facilities by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of these substances, or any other substance into the body; or
- That the defendant had an “alcohol concentration” of 0.08 or more.
If you have been arrested for driving while intoxicated or a related offense, you need the services of a Dallas criminal attorney who understands the law and can help protect your rights, including challenging the admissibility of any tests for alcohol concentration that may have been administered to you. Contact Jose Noriega, Dallas criminal attorney, for a free consultation today. View us on Ask the Lawyer below!