Driving Under the Influence of Drugs in Texas
In Texas, if a person is legally intoxicated with alcohol or they are impaired from any other substance while driving a vehicle, the person can be charged with driving while intoxicated, or DWI. The definition of legally intoxicated means that a person has a blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or greater. In Texas, a DWI is not limited solely to alcohol DWI for driving under the influence of alcohol. Rather, the Texas DWI statute also makes it a crime to operate a vehicle under the influence of drugs (whether prescription, over the counter, or illegal).
Other names for driving while intoxicated without alcohol include drugged driving, drug DWI, DWI drugs, or DUI drugs. WHETHER THE ALLEGED DWI INVOLVED COLD MEDICINE, PRESCRIPTION DRUGS, OR ALCOHOL THE PUNISHMENT IS THE SAME!! Please, do not take these charges lightly. You need an experienced defense attorney for drug DUI charges.
Can I Be Arrested for Drug DWI After Taking Prescription Drugs?
Yes. Under Texas’s DWI statute, “intoxicated” means “not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body.” Under the plain language of the statute, it is clear that an individual can be charged with a DWI even if the person operating the car never had a drink of alcohol.
However, this doesn’t mean that a person can be charged with a drug DWI anytime he takes a drug and operates a vehicle. Rather, the test is whether the drug impairs a person’s mental or physical capabilities, such as causing drowsiness, dizziness, or sleepiness.
Notably, under Texas law, the fact that one is or has been entitled to use the alcohol, controlled substance, drug, dangerous drug, or other substance is not a defense. As such, even if a person has a valid prescription from a doctor, he can still be charged with a DWI if the medication impairs his ability to drive. In this regard, it is paramount to read the labels of drugs for warnings and side effects and to discuss the potential side effects with your doctor.
Which Drugs are People Most Often Accused of Being Under the Influence From in Drug DUI Arrests?
The most common drug DUIs include allegations of driving while under the influence of prescription drugs like:
In addition to these prescription medications, it is also possible to get charged with DWI in Texas if an officer alleges impairment from over-the-counter medication like Tylenol PM, cold medicine, cough medicine, and even allergy medication. If you get charged for driving under the influence of an over-the-counter drug, the punishment and severity is equal to a charge of driving while intoxicated from alcohol. You should immediately seek legal counsel from an experienced DWI drug lawyer if charged. Even those these medications are not controlled substances, the long-term consequences of a conviction are very serious.
Contact a Defense Attorney for Drug DUI Charges in Houston
If you have been charged with operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs, contact our team of experienced defense lawyers today to find out how you can protect your rights. With over 30 years of experience defending adults and juveniles charged with DUI for being under the influence of drugs, we know how to fight the accusations against you. Call today to schedule a free consultation at (713) 222-0400 or schedule an appointment online.