Many people in Amarillo think of DWI as strictly alcohol-related, but in fact, someone can be charged with a DWI after using drugs. Importantly, the statute criminalizes driving while intoxicated, and intoxication can occur for many reasons.
The consequences for all DWIs can be harsh, and an individual should not expect the prosecution to be lenient because they were intoxicated by drugs. The best way to fight for a favorable outcome in court is with an experienced Amarillo DWI drug lawyer by your side.
Differences Between Alcohol and Drug-Related DWIs
There are two ways a person can be considered intoxicated under the Texas Penal Code. First, under Section 49.04, intoxication can be a per se violation. If someone has reached the 0.08 blood alcohol limit, then they are intoxicated, regardless of how the alcohol is affecting their behavior.
For drugs, however, there is no per se limit. Someone is considered intoxicated by drugs if they have lost the normal use of their mental or physical faculties due to the introduction of substances into the body. In layman’s terms, that means if someone has taken the drug, whether it’s an illegal drug or was prescribed by a doctor, and that that drug has made the person lose normal use of their mental or physical faculties, they are intoxicated under Texas law.
Penalties for Drug-Related DWIs in Amarillo
If a person is convicted of a DWI, whether due to drugs, alcohol, or a combination, the penalties are the exact same. A first offense is punishable by three to 180 days in jail. A DWI second is punishable by 30 days to 365 days in jail. If the offense is a DWI third or another felony DWI, it carry up to 10 years in prison. For enhancement purposes, all DWI convictions are treated equally. If an individual has two prior alcohol-related DWIs and is arrested for driving under the influence of drugs, it is considered a third offense.
Does the Type of Drug Make a Difference?
The statute does not make a distinction between illegal, prescription, and over-the-counter drugs for DWI purposes. If a person takes a legal substance prescribed by a doctor, and that legal prescription affected his or her ability to safely operate a motor vehicle, then the individual is guilty of driving while intoxicated under Texas law.
This is true even if the medication is a normal over-the-counter substance like Benadryl. For example, a person may take a drug that makes them drowsy, and they are pulled over by police for drifting over the centerline. Police conduct field sobriety tests, and if they determine the individual lost the normal use of their mental or physical faculties, they could be arrested for DWI.
Consult with an Amarillo DWI Drug Attorney
If you were arrested for driving under the influence of drugs, do not risk appearing in court without representation. The evidence against you may not be as strong the prosecution wants you to believe. With help from a skilled Amarillo DWI drug attorney, you may be able to raise a powerful defense. Call now to discuss your case.