Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) by Marijuana

While most folks link a DWI charge to drinking and driving, you can get in trouble for a DWI if the police think you’ve used something other than alcohol. This could be illegal drugs or even medications prescribed by a doctor, like marijuana.

Typically, the terms “DWI” or “DUI” are associated with alcohol consumption. However because some states allow marijuana use for medical or fun reasons, the police are paying more attention to people driving after using marijuana. This implies an increase in DWI and DUI offenses in Texas as a result of cannabis consumption.

Marijuana and DWI in Texas

While marijuana may be safer than alcohol, it’s important to avoid driving after using it. In Texas, they call it either DUI or DWI, which means driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated.

Being intoxicated in Texas means you’re not in control of your mental and physical faculties because of alcohol, drugs, or other substances. In Texas, having a breath test or blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or more is against the law. You can find this rule in section 49.01 of the Texas Penal Code.

In Texas, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance. This means that if you have marijuana in your system and you get caught driving, you could be seen as intoxicated. This could lead to DWI with marijuana charges.

What Effect Does Marijuana Have On A Person?

  1. Impaired Coordination: Marijuana use can impair driving skills and coordination, making it more challenging to control a vehicle accurately.
  2. Cannabis slows reaction time, making it hard to quickly respond to road changes or surprises.
  3. Impaired Judgment: Marijuana can alter perception and judgment, leading to risky decisions on the road.
  4. Reduced Concentration: Cannabis can cause a lack of focus and attention, which is critical for safe driving.
  5. Some users struggle with judging their vehicle’s speed or the distance of other objects on the road. This difficulty is known as time distortion.

Marijuana affects driving differently for each person. Factors like tolerance, strain, and consumption method play a role in determining the impact. However, it’s universally important to avoid driving while under the influence of drugs or marijuana to ensure road safety.


How To Test DWI by Marijuana

  • Field Sobriety Tests: Police may do tests during a traffic stop to check if someone is impaired. These tests are physical and mental assessments. These tests can help them determine if the driver’s abilities are compromised.
  • Drug Recognition Experts (DRE): If an officer suspects drug impairment, they may call in a specialized Drug Recognition Expert. These experts are trained to recognize signs and symptoms of drug impairment. They may conduct additional tests and observations.
  • Blood or Urine Tests: A police officer can request a blood or urine test if they suspect a driver is under the influence of marijuana. This test is used to detect the presence of marijuana or its byproducts. Unlike alcohol, which can be measured quickly with a breathalyzer, marijuana testing usually requires lab analysis of blood or urine samples.

It’s important to know that some traces of cannabis can stay in a person’s system for quite a while, even up to 4-6 weeks after you use it, and these traces may not affect your ability to think clearly.

However, if you’re stopped by the police on suspicion of DWI and they test your blood for drugs, you could still be charged with DWI with marijuana, even if you’re not feeling impaired at the time. This is because the presence of any detectable amount of certain substances can lead to DWI charges in Texas.

DWI by Marijuana Penalties

The consequences you might deal with if you’re found guilty of DWI with marijuana in Texas can differ based on several factors. In Texas, a DWI conviction typically results in the following penalties:


First DWI by Marijuana Offense:

  • Misdemeanor Class B
  • 72 hours to 180 days in jail
  • Fines of up to $2,000
  • A surcharge of $1,500–$2,000 per year for three years
  • Driver’s license suspension for up to a year
  • 24 to 100 hours of community service


Second DWI by Marijuana Offense:

  • Misdemeanor Class A
  • 72 hours to 1 year in jail
  • Fines of up to $4,000
  • A surcharge of $1,500–$2,000 per year for three years
  • License suspension for 180 days to 2 years
  • 80 to 200 hours of community service


Third DWI by Marijuana Offense (Continuous DWI):

  • Felony of the Third Degree
  • 2 to 10 years in prison
  • Fines of up to $10,000
  • A surcharge of $1,500–$2,000 per year for three years
  • License suspension for 180 days to 2 years
  • 160 to 600 hours of community service

These penalties highlight how seriously Texas takes DWI offenses, especially when marijuana is in the mix. It’s crucial to avoid driving under the influence and to seek legal counsel if you are facing DWI charges. An experienced attorney can help you understand your rights and options, potentially reducing the severity of the consequences you may face.

Arrested? Don’t Plea, Call Me!

If you face a DWI charge involving marijuana, you have the option to appeal those charges. The criminal justice system often feels complex and scary. However, a skilled DUI/DWI Marijuana attorney can research the charges against you and review the facts of your criminal case. We can whip up a pretty solid defense plan that’s all about you and your unique situation.

In addition, we will negotiate with the prosecution on your behalf and advocate in court for your rights and interests. Having Texas Criminal Defense Group on your side can greatly enhance the outcome of your case. Your lawyer can explain the legal procedure to you, detail your options, and offer advice and support. As a result, we may also assist you in reviewing any evidence collected against you, preparing witness testimonies, and investigating any mitigating circumstances.