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Can Texas Drivers Be Charged With DWI When Using Marijuana or Drugs?

 Posted on October 27, 2022 in Criminal Defense

fort worth criminal defense lawyerIn Texas, it is illegal to drive while intoxicated. However, DWI charges do not just apply in situations where a person drank alcohol before driving. Intoxication may also occur in situations involving the use of drugs, including illegal controlled substances, prescription drugs, and marijuana. If you have been pulled over by a police officer, questioned about your use of marijuana or other drugs, and arrested on DWI charges, you will need to understand the specific criminal charges that may apply. By working with an experienced lawyer, you can determine your best options for defense.

Texas DWI Laws Regarding Drugs

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a criminal offense in Texas. When it comes to alcohol use, intoxication is defined as having a blood alcohol content of at least .08 percent. However, the Texas Penal Code also states that a person may be considered to be intoxicated if they do not have the normal use of their physical or mental faculties due to the use of alcohol, marijuana, or other controlled substances. The combination of different types of substances, such as alcohol and prescription drugs, may also cause a person to become intoxicated.

The penalties for DWI can be very serious. At minimum, DWI is charged as a Class B misdemeanor, and a person who is convicted will be required to spend at least 72 hours in jail. Class B misdemeanor convictions may result in up to six months of jail time, as well as fines of up to $2,000. A person's driver's license may also be suspended for up to two years. More serious charges may apply in certain situations, such as when a person has previous DWI convictions or when they had a child passenger in their vehicle.

Issues That May Affect DWI Cases Involving Drugs

When a driver is suspected of being drunk, there are a number of methods that police officers may use to establish probable cause to arrest them for DWI. However, these methods do not always apply in situations involving marijuana or other drugs. For example, a portable breathalyzer test may provide an estimate of a driver's BAC level, but there is no equivalent test to determine whether a driver is intoxicated by marijuana, prescription drugs, or other controlled substances.

If a police officer suspects that a driver is intoxicated due to the use of drugs, they may establish probable cause based on their observations, such as behaviors by a driver that may indicate intoxication or the smell of marijuana in a vehicle. An officer may also ask a driver to submit to field sobriety tests, such as walking in a straight line, maintaining balance while standing on one foot, or tracking the person's eye movements. It is important for drivers to understand that they are allowed to refuse to take these tests, although refusal may be seen as an indication that a person is intoxicated, and this may provide an officer with probable cause to perform an arrest.

Contact Our Fort Worth Drugged Driving Defense Lawyer

If you are pulled over on suspicion of DWI, it is important to understand the law and know your rights. While an officer may suspect that you have been using drugs, they must have a compelling reason to believe that you are intoxicated before they can perform an arrest. If you have been arrested and charged with DWI, it is important to secure representation from an experienced criminal defense lawyer. At The Dameron Law Firm, our Tarrant County DWI defense attorney can help you build a strong defense, including by showing that an officer did not have probable cause to arrest you or challenging the evidence against you. We will protect your rights and fight for the best possible outcome in your case. Call us today at 817-222-0624 to schedule a free consultation.


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