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When Can Drug Use Lead to DWI Charges in Texas?

 Posted on February 27, 2021 in DWI

Collin County criminal defense attorney DWI

When a person drives after drinking alcohol, they may face charges of driving while intoxicated (DWI) if they are found to be in control of a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least .08 percent. However, there are other substances that can cause impairment that affects a person’s ability to drive safely. Drivers should be aware that they could face DWI charges due to the use of a variety of different types of drugs. Those who have been charged with DWI in Texas will want to secure representation from a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney.

DWI Charges Related to Legal and Illegal Drugs

The Texas Penal Code states that a person is considered to be intoxicated if they do not have the normal use of their physical or mental faculties due to the introduction of alcohol, drugs, or any combination of these substances into their body. This means that the use of any substances that affect a person’s ability to safely operate a vehicle could lead to DWI charges. These substances may include:

  • Marijuana - Patients with certain conditions are authorized to use marijuana for medical purposes, and many other people use the drug recreationally, even though it has not been legalized in Texas. After pulling a driver over, a police officer may suspect that they have been using marijuana due to the smell of the drug in a vehicle or on a person’s clothes or body or because a driver exhibits signs of being “high,” such as red eyes or a delayed response to questions.

  • Illegal drugs - The use of “hard drugs” such as heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamines can significantly impair a person’s driving ability. In many cases, these drugs are detected in a person’s system through a blood test performed after a driver is involved in a collision.

  • Prescription drugs - Even though some controlled substances are legal to use after being prescribed by a medical professional, they can affect a person’s ability to drive safely. Prescription opioids or antidepressants may cause impairment, and they can also have dangerous interactions with alcohol or other controlled substances.

  • Over-the-counter drugs - Some common medications, such as cough or cold medicines, can cause drowsiness, and in many cases, these effects will increase when combined with alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs.

In Texas, DWI charges related to drugs are treated the same as DWI cases involving alcohol. A first-time DWI is usually charged as a Class B misdemeanor, and the penalties for a conviction may include a prison sentence of up to six months and fines of up to $2,000. Charges increase in severity for a second, third, or subsequent DWI. If a driver is found to have controlled substances on their person or in their vehicle, they could also face drug possession charges.

Contact Our Collin County Drug DWI Defense Attorneys

If you have been arrested on DWI charges related to marijuana, prescription drugs, or other controlled substances, the experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Biederman & Burleson P.L.L.C. can assist with your case, and we will work to protect your rights and help you avoid a conviction. To set up a free consultation, call our Fairview DWI defense lawyers today at 469-333-3333.




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