In Texas, an individual suspected of driving under the influence of drugs (DUID, also referred to as driving while intoxicated by drugs, DWID) faces the same serious consequences as an individual suspected of driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol. Some of these consequences include a driver’s license suspension, jail time, steep fines, community service, and Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) surcharges and probation. Indirectly, an individual may also face an increased premium on his/her car insurance.
Despite the legal consequences, the repercussions of being arrested and convicted of a DUID/DWID can lead to unfortunate setbacks when trying to move forward with your life. It is important to remember that being arrested for a DUID/DWID dos not necessarily mean that it will lead to a conviction. In the event that you are arrested and charged with a DUID/DWID, it is crucial that you contact a qualified Texas defense attorney who may be able to find inconsistencies or weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, which could ultimately lead to a reduction or dismissal of your charges.
Texas Charges for Driving While Intoxicated by Drugs
Texas Penal Code § 49.01 does not distinguish between an individual driving underneath the influence of alcohol versus a person driving underneath the influence of drugs. According to Texas Penal Code § 49.01, an individual is guilty of DUID or DWID if he or she is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place. In Texas, just as a DUI for alcohol, an individual is considered intoxicated if he or she no longer has normal control over his or her mental or physical faculties, due to the consumption of drugs and/or controlled substances.
An individual can be considered for a DUID/DWID if believed to be under the influence of certain prescription drugs, controlled substances, or any other substance (e.g., inhalants, designer drugs, etc.) that could impair normal mental or physical faculties.
San Antonio Police and Texas Highway Patrol Officers may use field sobriety tests as well as chemical tests such as blood tests or urine tests to determine whether an individual is under the influence of drugs and/or controlled substances. Any amount of an illicit substance found in an individual’s blood or urine will be deemed as admissible evidence in the prosecution of the individual, regardless if the individual used drugs or took a controlled substance immediately prior to operating the vehicle, or if an individual used illicit or controlled substance days prior.
According to Texas Transportation Code §§ 521.021 and 521.312, it is illegal for chemically dependent persons who are a danger to themselves or others or those who are addicted to a controlled or illegal substance(s), to drive. Texas provides zero tolerance for addicts.
Common Drugs and Substances Detected in DUID/DWID Cases
Some of the types of drugs most commonly cited in DWID and DUID cases include:
- Hydrocodone & Other Prescription Pain Killers
- Sleeping Pills
- Any prescription medications that may alter one’s ability to operate a motor vehicle
It is important to note that this is not a comprehensive list of all drugs and substances tested for in suspected DUID/DWID cases.
Issues with Proving Intoxication by Drugs, Illegal Substances, or Prescribed Medications
Texas Penal Code § 49.01 vaguely defines what it is meant by intoxication. This raises issues for individuals arrested for DUID/DWIDs, especially for those merely taking their prescribed medications. Under the current Texas Penal Code, there is no limit as to what can and cannot be considered a cause of intoxication.
In addition, unlike DUI cases involving alcohol, little scientific support for a quantifiable number/percentage of a substance in a person’s body exists in order to prove impairment. For example, marijuana may remain in a person’s system for several weeks after it was originally consumed, and a positive chemical test for cannabis does not necessarily indicate that the person was under the influence of the drug at the time he or she was driving.
These two reasons and others not explicitly mentioned are pivotal factors to remember as you remind yourself as to why it is important to higher an experienced DUID/DWID attorney, such as Dave Parent.
Punishments for Conviction of DUID/DWID in Bexar County
The penalties for a drugged driving conviction depend largely upon the circumstances surrounding the case, as well as whether or not the defendant has any prior DUID/DWID convictions. These penalties are as follows:
- Test Refusal – First refusal of a DWID test can result in an alleged offender’s driver’s license being suspended for 180 days. A second test refusal within a 10-year period can result in a license being suspended for up to two years.
- First DUID/DWID – Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail, fines of up to $2,000, loss of driving privileges for up to one year, and annual surcharges ranging from $1,000 to $2,000 per year for three years.
- Second DUID/DWID – Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail, loss of driving privileges for up to two years, fines of up to $4,000, and annual surcharges ranging from $1,000 to $2,000 per year for three years.
- Third or Subsequent DUID/DWID – Third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison, loss of driving privileges for up to two years, fines of up to $10,000, and annual surcharges up to $2,000 per year for three years.
San Antonio DUID/DWID Defense Lawyer
If you have been arrested in Bexar County for a DUID/DWID, you should immediately seek experienced legal representation. The Parent Law Firm represents clients in the greater San Antonio area, including Boerne, Comfort, Bandera, and several other surrounding areas.
Dave Parent works tirelessly to get drugged driving charges reduced or completely dismissed. Call The Parent Law Firm today at 210-819-4111 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.