Parker County - TX
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Law Offices Of Richard C. McConathy
Most people associate a driving while intoxicated (DWI) arrest in Texas with alcohol consumption, but the truth of the matter is that police officers have the ability to also arrest alleged offenders when they are believed to be under the influence of certain drugs. Some of the most common kinds of drugs involved in these crimes include prescription drugs, marijuana, and other controlled substances.
The involvement of drugs in an alleged DWI crime can truly complicate things because a person who is believed to be under drugs can be charged with DWI even when they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that is below the legal limit. All of this said, proving that a drug was active at the time of an alleged offense can be incredibly difficult for a prosecutor, and a person could be able to successfully fight these criminal charges.
If you were arrested for a drug-related DWI in Parker County, you cannot afford to wait to seek legal help? Make sure you find yourself a criminal defense lawyer right away so you can start fighting the charges as soon as possible.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy has a wealth of experience fighting all kinds of DWI cases, including many people accused of being under the influence of drugs. Our firm can take a closer look at your particular case and talk with you about everything you are dealing with as soon as you call (817) 458-3226 or contact our firm online to set up a free consultation.
Under Texas Penal Code § 49.04, an individual can be charged with DWI if they operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated in a public place. This offense is typically a Class B misdemeanor.
Texas law defines intoxicated as not being able to use normal mental or physical faculties due to the consumption of alcohol, drugs, dangerous drugs, controlled substances or any combination. Normal faculties are typically walking, talking, driving, balancing and any motor skills.
A motor vehicle is defined in Texas as anything used to transport people or property, except for vehicles on stationary rails or tracks. Therefore, motor vehicles can include cars, boats, and airplanes, but does not include trains.
An individual must have actual physical control of the vehicle in order to be in operation of the vehicle. This means they have to be in or near the vehicle with the capability to operate the vehicle, even if they weren’t actually driving the vehicle when they were arrested.
Typically if an individual is charged with DWI from the use of drugs, their chemical blood test will show they were under the influence of any variety of illegal drugs or medications when they were arrested, or the substances were still in their system. Some of the most common drugs found in DWI toxicology tests include the following:
When an individual is pulled over for DWI in Dallas, the law enforcement officer may take the alleged offender’s blood sample to test for the presence of illegal drugs or medications if the driver passed field sobriety tests or passed chemical breath test with an alcohol concentration level under the legal limit of 0.08.
DWI drug testing is typically done through a process called gas chromatography. This process compares the driver’s blood sample to a control blood sample. Under Texas law, only certain individuals are permitted to take a blood sample when one is requested by a peace officer. However, according to Texas Transportation Code § 724.013, if an individual refuses to give their blood sample for DWI testing, it cannot be taken against their will, except in certain situations.
If your chemical blood test shows there were chemical substances in your blood when operating a motor vehicle, this does not mean you will be convicted of drug DWI. Inaccuracies may arise from DWI chemical blood testing.
If a person who drew the blood is not permitted or qualified to, the results of the blood test may be thrown out at trial. Additionally, blood samples that were taken in a hospital following a car accident are taken from blood serum and not the whole blood, which is often a less accurate measurement.
Further, the blood samples only show the substances in the blood, which may still be present from previous use. They do not directly indicate the driver was under the influence or intoxicated by drugs when they were operating the motor vehicle.
Keep in mind that different drugs have different detection times, meaning that a drug that was consumed many days or even weeks ago will still show up in a person’s system. This can often mean that law enforcement will conclude a person is under the influence of a drug that is not actually active at the time of the alleged offense.
According to the Mayo Clinic, approximate detection times for drugs screened in the 10-panel drug test include:
2 to 15 days
2 to 10 days
3 to 30 days, depending on frequency of use
2 to 10 days
2 to 7 days
10 to 15 days
1 to 3 days
A first drug-related DWI in Texas can result in a Class B misdemeanor charge, which is punishable by a mandatory minimum term of 72 hours up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine not more than $2,000, according to Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code.
A drug DWI conviction can require a minimum jail sentence of six days if the individual had an open alcoholic container in their vehicle at the time they were arrested for the offense.
A second drug-related DWI charge can result in a Class A misdemeanor conviction, which is punishable by a mandatory minimum term of 30 days in jail and a maximum of one year in jail and/or a fine not more than $4,000.
A third drug-related DWI or intoxication assault from the use of drugs can result in a third-degree felony conviction, which is punishable by a term of two to ten years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000.
Intoxication manslaughter from the use of drugs can result in a second-degree felony conviction, which is punishable by a term of two to 20 years in prison and/or a fine not more than $10,000.
Additional punishments for any drug-related DWI offense can include, but is not limited to the following:
It is important to keep in mind that most DWI charges are ineligible for expunction or record sealing, so there is the additional emphasis placed on trying to avoid a conviction in the first place.
Texas Drug Offenders Education Program (TDOEP) — Texas Transportation Code §§ 521.371-521.377 states that persons convicted of a misdemeanor or felony drug offenses will automatically have their licenses suspended for a period of six months. In order to have their license reinstated, they must attend and successfully complete an education program on the dangers of drug abuse approved by the department. Failure to complete the program will result in the license being revoked indefinitely until the education program is completed. Read more about the standardized program.
Drugged Driving DrugFacts | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) — Visit this NIDA page to learn more about why drugged driving is dangerous, how many people take drugs and drive, and which drugs are linked to drugged driving. You can also read more about how often drugged driving causes crashes. There is also additional information about which populations are impacted by drugged driving, steps people can take to prevent drugged driving, and other points to remember.
Were you arrested for an alleged drug-related DWI offense in the Weatherford area? You are right to question whether you should have been arrested and you will want to quickly retain legal counsel for help fighting the criminal charges and possibly getting them thrown out.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy understands the many complexities of drug-related DWI cases and our firm will work tirelessly to fully investigate your case and work to achieve the most favorable possible outcome that may include a reduction or dismissal of criminal charges. Let us take a much closer look at your case and talk about everything we can do for you when you call (817) 458-3226 or contact us online to receive a free consultation.
Flying While Intoxicated
Third or Subsequent DWI
DWI with BAC over 0.15
Controlled Substances and DWI
DWI Test Refusal and Implied Consent
License Suspension Hearings
DWI with Child Passenger
Contesting Blood Alcohol Tests
Ignition Interlock Device
DWI with Property Damage
SR-22 / DWI Insurance