Until recently, the DWI eye test, which is also known as the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test, was considered the most reliable of the three tests in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration three-test battery. Now, it is considered the least reliable one.
Roughly four out of five DWIs involve breath or blood tests (mostly breath tests). The conviction rate in breath test cases is over 80 percent in most jurisdictions, and in some places, it is closer to 90 percent.
Largely since Texas does not have a refusal-to-submit law, about one in five DWI cases are chemical test refusal cases. Refusal-to-submit laws, like the one in Florida, make breath test refusal a separate criminal offense.
In many places, "drugged" driver cause more fatal crashes than "drunk" drivers. So, Tarrant County prosecutors pursue these cases very aggressively. Prescription drugs and marijuana account for a little over half of drugged driving prosecutions in Texas.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied Rodney Reed's most recent appeals, so he will remain on death row for the 1998 murder of a Bastrop County woman.
Even though Texas is an implied consent state, officials cannot automatically suspend drivers' licenses following DWI arrests. To do so, there must be an Administrative License Suspension hearing to determine if such suspension is appropriate.
In 2018, Texas law enforcement officers arrested over 95,000 Texans for DWI. That figure was almost 10 percent higher than the 2017 arrest total. Prosecutors are very aggressive as well. The number of dismissals dropped sharply in 2018. In other words, Parker County prosecutors almost always pursue DWI cases, no matter how weak or strong the evidence is.
In February 2019, police charged the former quarterback with DWI. Fort Bend County prosecutors recently reduced those charges. And, Young may not even be convicted of that offense.
Largely because of the extremely broad definitions in Texas Penal Code Section 49.04, "drugged driving" cases are more common than "drunk driving" cases in many jurisdictions. Under Texas law, any "substance" can cause intoxication. That substance could be an illegal street drug, like heroin, a prescription painkiller, like Oxycontin, an over-the-counter drug, like NyQuil, or a consumer product, like caffeine.
Partially due to the stern warnings about mandatory drivers' license suspension and the use of refusal information in court, about 75 percent of the people who are arrested for DWI submit to a chemical test. Many others probably do not fully understand that they have a right to refuse the test, and they do not understand how much chemical tests increase conviction rates.