It’s no secret that law enforcement cracks down on drunk driving in Texas. But there’s less publicity about drugged driving. Although it has a lower profile there’s also a zero tolerance policy to drugged driving dealt with under state’s driving while intoxicated (DWI) statute.
Our Texas driving drugged defense lawyers also help clients who are charged with driving under the influence of drugs. There are even more inconsistencies and greater potential for miscarriages of justice here than with driving under the influence of alcohol.
Texas’ drugged driving law is found under Chapter 49 of the Texas Penal Code. You commit a criminal offense if you operate a vehicle while intoxicated. You are intoxicated if you lack the normal use of mental or physical faculties because of alcohol, a drug, a controlled substance, a dangerous drug, or a combination of alcohol and drugs.
In Texas, there is no fixed amount of drugs within your blood that determines a conviction. A prosecutor will determine whether or not you are impaired on a case-by-case basis. There’s a lot of discretion.
The Penalties for Drugged Driving in Texas
A DUID can be met with the same serious penalties as drunk driving. You could face a fine of up to $2,000; be jailed for anything from 72 hours to 180 days. Your license could be suspended for up to 100 hours and you could face community service.
Texas also imposes surcharges for certain traffic offenses including DWIs and DUIDs. You can face paying $1,000 or $2,000 a year for three years. That’s just for a first offense. There is mounting opposition against driving surcharges in Texas. However, they remain in place for now.
Issues with Drugged Driving Prosecutions in Texas
The laws on driving drugged are very wide and open to interpretation. A driver could be arrested for drugged driving for taking their daily medication while going to work if there was evidence of impairment.
Drugged driving lacks a specific test as in the case of drunk driving. The fact there is no hard number means your future rests in the discretion of a prosecutor.
A driver with a high drug tolerance may get away with taking a large dosage whereas another driver could be judged to be impaired after taking a small quantity of a drug.
The arbitrary nature of the law is a concern to us as experienced Austin DWI defense lawyers.
If you have been charged with drugged driving it’s important to contact us as soon as possible for assistance with your case.