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DWI Terms

Texas’s legal system is incredibly complex and can sometimes require legal jargon that we aren’t familiar with, especially for those charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI). However, understanding these terms and processes is incredibly important to your case. It’s imperative you are aware of all your legal options and how the court proceeds before you move forward.

If you or someone you know has been charged with driving drunk, it’s highly recommended you read the following article. Having an in-depth knowledge of DWI terms and processes can give you the step ahead you need to defend your charges. Another action you can take before trial is to hire an experienced and skilled attorney for your case. A qualified defense lawyer can assess your charges, advise you on your legal options and guide you through the case.

Attorney Explains DWI Terms in Austin, Texas

If you or someone you know has been charged with DWI, we urge you to speak to a seasoned criminal defense lawyer. One great option is to contact The Law Office of Kevin Bennett. Attorney Kevin Bennett has been representing clients accused of DWI for years and can assist you with your charges.

To get in contact with attorney Bennett, call (512) 476-4626. We will set up your first consultation free and discuss your case in detail. During your appointment, you and attorney Bennett can chart out a defense plan for your case. You can find our offices in Austin, but we practice throughout the Travis County area including Lago Vista, West Lake Hills, and Pflugerville.

Overview of DWI Terms in Texas


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Types of Driving While Intoxicated Offenses

  • DWI: Driving while impaired
  • DUID: Driving under the influence on drugs;
  • UBAL: Unlawful blood alcohol level;
  • BWI: Boating while intoxicated;
  • FWI: Flying while intoxicated;
  • DWI CDL: DWI offense where the drunk driver is a commercial license holder;
  • DWI with Child Passenger: DWI offense enhanced because a minor was present;
  • High BAC DWI: DWI offense with a blood alcohol concentration level of .15 or higher;
  • DWI Intoxication Assault: DWI offense that results in serious bodily injury;
  • DWI Intoxication Manslaughter: DWI offense that results in another’s death;
  • DWI Refusal: Administrative violation of refusing to comply with implied consent laws;
  • Failed DWI Test: When a person submits to DWI testing and fail

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DWI Testing Terms

  • Implied Consent Laws – A set of laws that state any person using Texas’s public roads must comply with DWI chemical testing or face an administrative license suspension;
  • Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) – A metric for alcohol intoxication for legal and medical purposes with a legal limit of .08 BAC being unlawful;
  • Field Sobriety Tests – Physical exercises that law enforcement uses to measure a person’s physical and mental faculties. The only field sobriety tests that are valid to use in court are standardized field sobriety tests (SFST);
    • One Leg Stand – A SFST where the driver must stand on one leg for a certain amount of time to determine physical faculties;
    • Walk and Turn – A test where the officer asks the driver to walk heel-to-toe on a straight line and then turn on one foot when walking all the way back;
    • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) – SFST where the officer puts a stimulus in front of the driver’s eyes and asks them to follow it as the officer sways the stimulus back and forth to measure their nystagmus. If the nystagmus in the eye twitches, then it’s a sign of intoxication.
  • DWI Chemical Tests – Scientific testing using blood, breath or urine samples to determine if a person is under the influence;
    • Breathalyzer/Intoxilyzer – A breath analysis device used to determine the amount of BAC in your system. The device can be portable or the full-sized instrument at the law enforcement station.
    • Portable Breath Test – A breathalyzer that is portable for traveling officer’s use and is known to give skewed results;
    • Blood Analysis – Chemical DWI testing involving a blood sample; or
    • Urine Analysis – Chemical DWI testing involving a urine sample
  • Administrative License Suspension – An administrative violation for people who have refused DWI chemical testing which can result in a license suspension; and
  • Occupational Driver’s License – A restricted driver’s license that allows people with a suspended license to drive for specific reasons such as commuting to work

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DWI Trial and Sentencing Terms in Texas

  • DWI Diversion Program – A diversion program for people who have been charged or convicted with DWI that focuses on rehabilitation rather than incarceration;
  • DWI School – A set of courses for people convicted of DWI designed to teach offenders the dangers of DWI and persistent alcohol or controlled substance abuse;
  • Ignition Interlock Device – A sentencing condition for some DWI offenders where they must install a portable breathalyzer to your car’s engine. The driver must blow into the device to start the car and if they have a .08 or higher BAC, then the car’s engine will automatically lock for the next hour.
  • SCRAM Ankle Bracelet – Some offenders who are released on probation must wear an ankle bracelet that measures the presence of alcohol in a person’s sweat;
  • Portable Alcohol Monitor – A breathalyzer device court ordered to people who have been released on probation for DWI that measures BAC;
  • Criminal License Suspension – A license suspension unrelated to an administrative license suspension and can be added to your initial suspension after conviction;
  • Deferred Adjudication – A type of community supervision where the offender can plead guilty or no contest, but the judge withholds their guilt. It basically means your case is put on a “temporary hold” until you’ve completed your community supervision. If you finish it successfully, then the case will be dismissed, and no conviction will appear on the offender’s record.
  • NonDisclosure – When the court seals a criminal record so it’s not available to the public but can be seen privately for the purposes of the courts.
  • Expunction – The court process that is the complete erasure and destruction of all records—paper or electronic—specific to the arrest or the conviction.

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Additional Resources

DWI Court Program – Visit the official website for the Travis County Courts to learn more about their DWI Court Program. Access the site to learn more about the program’s eligibility criteria, how to apply and their relevant contact information.

Texas DWI Laws – Visit the official website for the Texas Penal Code to learn more about driving while intoxicated and other related offenses. Access the site to learn more about DWI elements, penalties and their legal definitions.


DWI Lawyer Explains Legal Terms in Travis County, Texas

If you or someone you know has been accused of DWI, then it’s imperative you seek an experienced attorney on your side. We recommend you to get in contact with The Law Office of Kevin Bennett. Attorney Kevin Bennett is an Austin-raised resident who has a huge love for what he does. Kevin Bennett will do whatever he can to help your case and defend your rights in court.

Learn more about Kevin Bennett’s practice by calling (512) 476-4626. You can set up an appointment to discuss your charges with attorney Bennett in detail. The Law Office of Kevin Bennett practices throughout the greater Travis County area including Austin, Pflugerville, Lago Vista and Del Valle.


This article was last updated on September 27, 2019. 

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