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Defending Against Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana in Texas

 Posted on March 22, 2021 in DWI

Collin County criminal defense attorney DWI marijuana

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges typically bring to mind drunk driving. However, alcohol is not the only substance that can lead to DWI charges in Texas. While many states have legalized the medical or recreational use of marijuana, the drug is still illegal in Texas save for very specific circumstances.  If you are caught driving while intoxicated by marijuana or a THC-containing product, you may be charged with DWI and subject to penalties including heavy fines and possible jail time. Developing a robust defense strategy with help from a skilled DWI defense lawyer may help you avoid these penalties.  

Understanding the Difference Between DWI Involving Cannabis and DWI Involving Alcohol

The penalties for DWI involving marijuana intoxication and alcohol intoxication are largely the same. A first offense is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail, a $2,000 fine, and a temporary suspension of your driver’s license. Second or subsequent offenses or DWI involving certain aggravating factors such as child passengers are penalized by longer jail sentences.

One major difference between DWI involving alcohol and DWI involving marijuana is how intoxication is established. Proving that a person was under the influence of marijuana while driving is much more complicated than proving intoxication in drunk driving cases. In 49 out of the 50 U.S. states, the legal limit for blood alcohol content is 0.08 percent. If a driver’s BAC is 0.08 percent or more, the driver is automatically considered intoxicated by law or intoxicated “per se.” There are not per se intoxication laws regarding marijuana in Texas.

Questioning Whether You Were Intoxicated by Marijuana at the Time of Your Arrest

There is no specific amount of THC, the psychoactive element of cannabis, that makes a person intoxicated by law in Texas. Furthermore, blood and urine tests for marijuana intoxication have been heavily disputed because THC can remain in a person’s body for weeks after he or she consumed marijuana. DWI arrests involving marijuana intoxication are typically based on subjective evidence such as the smell of marijuana, field sobriety tests, and assessments performed by “drug recognition experts.” These tests are not always accurate or reliable. This often leaves room for DWI charges involving marijuana to be successfully contested.

Contact a Plano DWI Defense Lawyer

A skilled Collin County criminal defense attorney from the Law Offices of Biederman & Burleson P.L.L.C. can help you build a formidable defense against DWI charges. Our team may question the reliability of the evidence against you, the officer’s reason for pulling you over in the first place, or other circumstances of your arrest. Call us today at 469-333-3333 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.




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