Yes, you can be charged with DWI for driving stoned in Texas. Unlike several states throughout the country where medical or recreational use of marijuana is legal, Texas law states otherwise. The use of marijuana is illegal in Texas, except for those with intractable epilepsy, as passed by the Compassionate Use Act of 2015.
As such, you can be charged with a DWI offense if it’s ascertained that you are under the influence of marijuana while driving. Read on to learn all you need to know about marijuana DWI charges in Texas and what a reputable lawyer can do to help you minimize the consequences.
As defined by the Texas Penal Code, driving while intoxicated means operating a motor vehicle in a public place while lacking the normal functioning of your mental and physical faculties. Some drugs, like alcohol, have legal limits beyond which you may be charged for a DWI, but for marijuana, the law is not specific.
It means any amount of marijuana found in your test specimen is sufficient to warrant a DWI charge. Sobriety tests for marijuana are not so direct and drug recognition experts are relied upon to prove marijuana intoxication. In addition, blood and urine tests for marijuana are not very dependable since the chemical component in marijuana, THC, can last in the body weeks after use.
Generally, DWI penalties are the same regardless of the drug in question. The penalties you are facing depend on several factors, such as:
- Whether you have a prior DWI conviction
- If you caused an accident where there were injuries, death, or property damage
- Having a minor in the car at the time of the arrest
Depending on these factors, you may find yourself facing possible jail time, fines, and even the suspension of your driver’s license. Additionally, these penalties may be accompanied by a mandatory drug rehabilitation program and community service.
In Texas, DWI charges are serious, and given the high stakes involved, it is important to fight them. There are possible defense strategies your lawyer for marijuana charges could employ to have your case dismissed or reduced, as outlined below.
- Was there probable cause to arrest you?
- Was there proof of marijuana intoxication, and how reliable are the tests?
- Did the evidence collected against you maintain the legal chain of custody?
- Were there any mistakes made, legal or not, in the buildup to your case?
Depending on the circumstances of your DWI case, your attorney may poke holes in the evidence against you using these and more defenses. Defending your charges will not be easy, but with the correct legal representation, you could get a favorable outcome for your DWI case.
Do not enter a guilty plea to your Marijuana DWI charges without consulting with your lawyer. An attorney will have your best interests first, and they will advise accordingly, depending on your case. Also, you can get away without a conviction even if you think you committed the offense.
The defenses stated above may persuade a ‘not guilty’ verdict which can go a long way in securing your future. DWI charges stay on your criminal record for life. This can affect you in several ways. For instance, you may have to pay higher car insurance premiums, encounter difficulties in securing a job, difficulties securing state provided licensing such as a registered nurse, and even difficulties securing rental agreements.