Frequently Asked Questions

   Question: How do I obtain a copy of the "Texas Breath Alcohol Testing Operator's Manual" ?

Answer: Operator manuals are available for the cost of production from the DPS General Stores Accounting Clerk. General Stores may be contacted by calling (512) 424-5425 or by completing this form and mailing with your check or money order to:
General Services
P.O. Box 15999
Austin, Texas 78761-5999
Reference publication number LAB-BR-38

   Question: What is necessary for my police department to establish an approved program to test DWI suspects?

Answer: Prior to initiating a breath alcohol testing program, an agency must submit an application to the scientific director for approval.

Contact the Office of the Scientific Director for further details at:
MSC 0570
PO Box 4087
Austin, TX 78773-0570

   Question: I am a police officer interested in becoming a certified Intoxilyzer ® operator. How do I receive the necessary training?

Answer: Operator training is conducted on the campuses of several community colleges throughout the State. Before gaining admission into one of the schools you must contact the Technical Supervisor for the area in which you work. The Office of the Scientific Director can assist you in contacting the appropriate Technical Supervisor.

   Question: Can local law enforcement agencies purchase breath, blood, and urine testing supplies from DPS?

Answer: If an agency has an interlocal agency contract on file with DPS General Services, DPS blood kits, urine specimen kits, and Intoxilyzer® mouthpieces may be purchased from the Department.

General Services may be contacted by calling (512) 424-5425 or writing
General Services
P.O. Box 15999
Austin 78761-5999

   Question: What is the legal limit to drive my car if I have been drinking?

Answer: Contrary to popular belief there is not a "legal limit" to operate a vehicle after drinking. For the purposes of operating a motor vehicle, Chapter 49 of the Penal Code defines intoxication as,

  1. 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: or
  2. Having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more Simply stated if you have lost any of your normal mental or physical capabilities after drinking and/or taking legal or illegal drugs you should not drive. These losses often occur at alcohol levels below 0.08. Scientific research has not shown an alcohol concentration level at which it is safe to drive. The best rule of thumb to follow: If you drink don't drive!

   Question: I am a certified breath test operator but my certificate is currently inactive, what steps are necessary for me to reactivate my operator's certificate?

Answer: Operators seeking reactivation or recertification should direct a written correspondence desiring such to the Office of the Scientific Director. Requests should contain operator name, agency, current mailing address, and certificate number if available. A letter outlining the necessary steps will be forwarded to the operator.

   Question: How do I reinstate my driver license privileges if they were suspended for failing or refusing to take a breath or blood test?

Answer: The Driver License Division administers the Administrative License Revocation (ALR) program. View general provisions and specific instructions for the ALR program here.

   Question: What other devices does the Office of the Scientific Director evaluate and approve for use in alcohol testing?

Answer: Similar to evidential breath alcohol testing devices, the OSD tests and evaluates breath alcohol ignition interlock devices (BAIID) as well as reference sample devices.

   Question: Who decides what type of breath test device to use in DWI enforcement programs?

Answer: The Office of the Scientific Director is statutorily charged with determining whether an analytical instrument used for breath alcohol testing is suitable for evidential testing. The OSD maintains a list of approved devices meeting the requirements for evidential breath testing. While several devices are on this list the Department's uniform statewide program utilizes only one type of instrumentation.

List of approved devices