Exploring Drug-Related DWI Charge
When it comes to Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in Texas, most minds jump to alcohol, but here’s the scoop: in Texas, driving under the influence of drugs or marijuana can land you in hot water too.
If you’re cruising a boat or operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or controlled substances, you could find yourself facing a DWI charge in the Lone Star State. So, this isn’t just about alcohol; it includes anything that messes with your ability to drive safely.
So, even if you haven’t touched a drop of alcohol but have indulged in some prescription medicine, or maybe even a bit of cannabis, you could still be slapped with a DWI charge in Texas.
Drug-Related DWI Simplified
Getting a DWI for drugs is not the same as getting a DWI for alcohol. It’s tough to prove guilt, and many drugs, both legal and illegal, can lead to a DWI. Unlike alcohol, there’s no clear limit for drugs. Illegal drugs like marijuana, cocaine, and heroin can definitely get you a DWI. Even using prescription drugs correctly can still make you vulnerable to a DWI charge.
As per Texas Penal Code 49.04, Driving While Intoxicated occurs when a person:
They can’t use their regular mental or physical faculties because they’ve taken alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a mix of these substances, or any other substance into their body.
In Texas, being “intoxicated” means you can’t use your regular mental health or physical faculties due to drugs or alcohol. Regular faculties include walking, talking, driving, balancing, and motor skills. A motor vehicle, in Texas, is anything used to transport people or goods. To be in control, a person must physically control the vehicle, be in or around it, and be capable of operating it, even if not actively driving when caught.
Common Drugs Found in the DWI Toxicology Test
Usually, when someone gets a DWI charge for using drug-related substances, their blood test will reveal they were influenced by illegal drugs or medications during the arrest or that these substances were still in their system.
Here are some of the most common drugs found in DWI tests:
- Benzodiazepines: medications like Xanax or Valium, prescribed for anxiety or sleep disorders.
- Opioids: prescription painkillers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, or morphine.
- Marijuana (THC) is the psychoactive component of cannabis.
- Cocaine is a stimulant drug that can affect alertness and coordination.
- Methamphetamine is a stimulant that can make your heart beat faster and mess with your judgment.
- Heroin is an opioid drug with high abuse potential.
- Ecstasy (MDMA) is a synthetic drug with stimulant and hallucinogenic properties.
Various drugs break down at different speeds in the human body. Some drugs leave no traces within a few hours or days.
The impact of drugs differs from person to person, but typical side effects may involve feelings of euphoria, confusion, sleepiness, paranoia, and a distorted sense of time, among other things. Those facing a drug-related DWI charge might have been under the influence of prescription pills, medications, or street drugs.
In Texas, testing for drug-related Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) cases typically involves a combination of methods to determine the presence of drugs in an individual’s system. The primary testing methods include:
- Blood Tests: Blood tests are a common method to identify the presence of drugs in the bloodstream. These tests can pick up both legal and illegal stuff, including prescription medications.
- Urine Tests: Urine tests are another method used to screen for drug use. These tests can show if there are different things and their leftovers in your system.
- Saliva Tests: While not a chemical test and not as intrusive as blood or urine tests, they can still catch you if you’ve used alcohol or drugs lately.
- Field Sobriety Tests: Police officers do these field sobriety tests to check how well you can move and think when you’re driving. These tests could hint that there might be an issue, so they might decide to do more drug testing.
- Toxicology Panel: They might do a thorough test to check lots of different parts in your system. This can include both legal and illegal drugs.
Other Offenses and Penalties for Drug-Related DWI
There are three types of drug-related DWI offenses:
- Prescription drug DWI
- Marijuana DWI
- Controlled Substances
For a first drug DWI offense, you could get a class B misdemeanor with penalties including 72 hours to 180 days in jail and a fine up to $2,000. A second drug DWI offense might mean a class A misdemeanor with 30 days to a year in prison and fines up to $4,000.
A third repeat drug DWI offense could lead to a third-degree felony with a prison term of two to ten years and fines up to $10,000. If there are serious factors like manslaughter due to drugged or drunk driving, the person might face two to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. The outcome varies based on the crime, past record, and specifics.
Arrested? Don’t Plea, Call Me!
If you or someone you care about got stopped and accused of a drug-related DWI, don’t lose hope. Cops might not be as good at figuring out if someone is intoxicated as you think. They sometimes use questionable methods and old science to get the results they want.
Talking to a DWI attorney who knows about the complexities of DWI cases can give you useful advice when you’re dealing with legal stuff. The lawyer should understand DWI cases. They can help in creating a strong defense that suits your situation.