A Winning Defense Against Driving Under the Influence of Drugs – Houston, Galveston, League City, Texas
Being charged with driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) is a serious matter. Because of the risks this activity poses for other drivers and pedestrians, law enforcement and government officials seek harsh penalties for those who are convicted. If you have been arrested for DUID, it is crucial to have an experienced Texas DUID attorney on your side.
What Are the Differences and Similarities Between Drunk Driving and Drugged Driving?
When you are facing charges for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas, it is important to understand the elements of the charges you are facing in order to develop a strong defense strategy with assistance from a Texas DWI defense attorney. If you were recently arrested for a DWI but you were not drinking alcohol beforehand, you may be wondering about DWI charges for drugged driving, and whether you can face DWI charges for driving while using a medicine for which you have a prescription, or the consequences for driving under the influence of a controlled substance. The following are some key things to know about the similarities and differences between drugged driving and drunk driving in Texas as they relate to DWI charges.
At Tad Nelson & Associates, we provide a tenacious defense against DUID charges for people in the Houston and Galveston metro areas and throughout Texas. Attorney Tad Nelson brings extensive experience to these cases, having served as an assistant district attorney before becoming a board-certified criminal trial lawyer*.
Getting the Facts About Texas DWIs and Prescription Drugs
If you currently take a prescription medication that can be impairing under certain circumstances or when combined with other substances, you could end up facing charges for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas. As you may already know, the state of Texas takes DWIs charges related to drunk driving and drugged driving extremely seriously, and even a conviction for a first offense can result in many months in jail. While many people in Texas assume that DWI charges only occur when a person has consumed too much alcohol or has used a controlled substance, it is essential to know that you can face DWI charges if you were impaired because of a prescription drug side effect—even if you have a valid prescription for the medication.
Drunk Driving Can Be Charged Based on Blood Alcohol Concentration
Under the Texas Penal Code, a person can face DWI charges for drunk driving if the person has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher, even if that person is not behaving in any way behind the wheel to suggest that she or he does “not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol.”
Differently, there are no specific amounts of medications or unlawful drugs that are cited in the Texas Penal Code to allow for a DWI charge. As such, drugged driving DWIs are based on whether the controlled substance or drug has impaired the motorist’s ability to safely operate the motor vehicle.
If you are facing DWI charges in connection with prescription drugs, you need to seek advice from one of our Texas DWI defense attorneys as soon as possible. You do not want to face the consequences of DWI sentencing or the criminal record that will follow.
You Can Face DWI Charges Because You Drove While Using Prescription Drugs
Under the Texas Penal Code, a person can be charged with the offense of driving while intoxicated with that person “is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place.” The law further defines being intoxicated as not having the use of faculties due to alcohol or drugs, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body or having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher.
While we often think about this definition of intoxication as it related to alcohol consumption or the use of drugs like marijuana products or cocaine, you need to know that the reference to “drugs” in the above definition includes prescription medications that can impair a driver’s mental or physical faculties.
You Can Face Serious Penalties for a Prescription Drug DWI
You should know that it is critical to have an experienced Teas DWI defense attorney on your side if you are facing charges for drugged driving related to prescription medication usage. If you are convicted, you can face severe penalties.
First, you should know that Texas law does not narrowly define intoxicated driving to only mean driving under the influence of alcohol. Rather, intoxicated driving can include operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of a drug, including a prescription medication. According to the Texas Penal Code, the term “intoxicated” in a DWI 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,” or “having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.”
To be clear, a person can face DWI charges whether that person is intoxicated as a result of using alcohol or drugs. Further, drugged driving can involve intoxication as a result of an illegal controlled substance, as well as use of a prescription medication—even if the person has a valid prescription for the drug—if it results in the person “not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties.”
Indeed, the Texas Department of Transportation underscores that a conviction for a DWI first offense can include a sentence of up to 180 days in jail, a fine of up to $2,000, and the loss of your driver’s license for up to one year. If you are convicted of a second offense, both the fine and driver’s license suspension can double, and you can face up to one year in jail. For third and subsequent offenses, the penalties are much more severe, resulting in a prison sentence of 2 to 10 years and a $10,000 fine.
Dedicated Representation From a Drug Recognition Expert
Attorney Tad Nelson and our team will work closely with you every step of the way as we build your case and fight aggressively to protect your rights. There are a variety of ways to win these cases, including:
- Demonstrating the unreliability of drug testing equipment
- Displaying a lack of probable cause for the traffic stop
- Showing that the impairment timeline does not match the facts of your case
- Proving that the blood or urine test was not administered by a medical professional
- Demonstrating a lack of probable cause for the search
Seek Help from an Experienced Texas DWI Defense Lawyer
If you are facing DWI charges, you should begin working with one of our Texas DWI defense attorneys as soon as possible. You can face serious penalties if you are convicted, as we noted above. And those penalties can apply regardless of whether or not you had a valid prescription for the drug that led to your intoxicated driving charges. Contact The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates today for assistance with your case. Before making a statement to the police, contact our firm. Call (281) 280-0100 to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Major Credit Cards Accepted — Contact Us Today for a Consultation
If you have been charged with DUID, it is important to contact us as soon as possible for a consultation. We understand that you are under a lot of stress as a result of your arrest and will do everything in our power to win your case so you can move on.
*The Texas Board of Legal Specialization certifies attorneys in 20 specific areas of law; certification in any of these areas requires substantial demonstrated experience and skill, positive peer evaluations, ongoing legal education commitments, and the passage of a rigorous test.
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