Posted on 6/22/20

Every year, Texans in Flower Mound and throughout the state face DWI charges for driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Well-known sports players and celebrities are not immune to facing DWI charges. On May 17th, Ed Oliver, a former University of Houston player and Buffalo Bills defensive tackle, was arrested on DWI charges. 

On the date of the event, a witness called 911 and reported a pickup truck pulling a trailer that was weaving in and out of lanes on the road. Law enforcement pulled the NFL player over and found that he was intoxicated. They were not sure whether or not alcohol was a factor. Law enforcement gave him a field sobriety test. Police charged him with a misdemeanor DWI and a for carrying a weapon in his vehicle, also a misdemeanor charge. 

Prosecutors Have the Burden of Proof When it Comes to DWI Charges

In Texas, prosecutors must prove four elements to show that the defendant committed a DWI. They must prove these four elements beyond a reasonable doubt through evidence presented at the criminal trial. These four elements include the following:

  • The defendant was operating

  • A motor vehicle

  • In a public place

  • While intoxicated

Operating a Motor Vehicle

Texas courts have interpreted the word ‘operating’ broadly when it comes to DWI charges. Operating a motor vehicle includes more than driving a car down the road. Potentially, if a defendant was sitting in a parking lot in a car while listening to music, he or she could face a DWI charge. There is no definition in the relevant Texas statute for the word ‘operating.’ While driving involves a moving vehicle, operating can include being in control of the vehicle. 

What is a Motor Vehicle?

The Texas Penal Code defines a motor vehicle as a “device in, or, or by which a person or property is or may be transported or drawn on a highway, except a device used exclusively on stationary rails or tracks.” The term motor vehicle does not just include cars and trucks. It is broad enough to include golf carts and ATV vehicles. 

What is a Public Place?

A public place includes any place to which the public or a substantial portion of the public has access. A public place can include highways, streets, and common areas of ships, transport facilities, office buildings, apartment houses, hospitals, and schools. In some cases, prosecutors have a hard time proving that the public place element has been met, especially when they arrest the defendant on private property, such as in a privately owned yard or driveway. 

What is Intoxication?

Typically, intoxication is the element in dispute in DWI cases. Intoxication includes having an alcohol concentration of at least .08%. Intoxication also can mean not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body.

Contact Our Experienced Flower Mount DWI Defense Lawyers

If you are facing a DWI charge in Texas, Abel Law Firm can help. Contact our DWI defense law firm as soon as possible to schedule your initial consultation.

Flower Mound Office

Phone: 972.584.7837

Denton Office