It is illegal to drive under the influence of any drug that makes you not have the normal use of your mental or physical faculties – including prescription drugs. In the state of Texas, it is not a crime to drive if you are impaired by prescription drugs. It is only a crime to drive if you are intoxicated.
Texas DWI Laws
Texas Statutes §49.04 explains that a DWI is when you operate a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated. This includes intoxication from any substance, whether prescribed or not. In other words, if you are unsafe to drive because of your prescription medication and you still get behind the wheel, you could face penalties.
For instance, if you are prescribed a narcotic pain medication that makes you drowsy or unable to safely operate a motor vehicle, then you should not drive while the medication is causing you to feel this way. If you have a prescription for an anti-inflammatory drug that does not cause any side effects that would impair your driving, then it is okay to drive while using this drug.
For a free legal consultation, call 713-225-1900
What to Do if You Have Been Charged With a DWI
Whether you were charged with a DWI while under the influence of a prescription drug or under the influence of alcohol, it is important for you to take your charge seriously. This crime could impact your life for many years to come, and it could impact your life forever. If you were charged with a DWI, here are some things you may want to do:
- Understand your rights. By knowing your legal options, you can make the best possible decisions for your case. We can help you understand your rights and guide you through the criminal court process.
- Do not drive under the influence. Repeat DWI offenses may come with increased penalties. For example, if you are on bond for a DWI and you are arrested and charged with a subsequent DWI, your bond could be revoked and you could be sitting down in jail.
- Attend all court hearings. Whether or not you are guilty of the crime you are being accused of, it is in the best interest of your case to attend your hearings when required. By not attending required hearings, you may harm your case.
DWI Defenses in Texas
You may not realize that you have options after being charged with a DWI. You may assume you need to sign the first plea agreement you are offered, but this is not necessarily true. It can benefit your case to think carefully and speak with someone from our office before signing any legal documents.
Defenses against a conviction of a DWI are possible. For instance, if you were operating a motor vehicle while on prescription drugs, but the drugs were not impairing your abilities to operate the vehicle, then this is not a crime. You could argue that you were driving erratically due to circumstances outside of your control, such as undergoing a medical incident like a seizure.
Here are a few more examples of defenses that can be used when you have been charged with a DWI:
- Mistake of fact
- Police officers are full of bologna
- Mistaken identity
- Police procedural errors
- Crime lab errors
- Not enough evidence to convict
- Illegal search/stop
Consequences of a DWI Conviction in Texas
If you are convicted of a DWI, you could face severe penalties that could make your life more difficult. For instance, you could go to jail, be ordered to pay expensive fines, or lose your license according to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).
You could also lose your job, deal with financial hardship, and face embarrassment. You could have a DWI conviction on your record for the rest of your life.
Legal Penalties for DUI Offenses
|First DWI (Misdemeanor)||Up to $2000 fine, up to 180 days in jail (3 days mandatory minimum), and loss of a license for up to one year|
|Second DWI (Misdemeanor)||Up to a $4,000 fine, between one month and a year in jail upon conviction, and loss of a license for up to two years|
|Third or Subsequent DWI (Felony)||A $10,000 fine, between two and 10 years in prison, and loss of a license for up to two years|
|DWI with a Child Passenger (Felony)||Fines up to $10,000, jail for up to two years, and loss of a license|
Call the Attorneys at Blass Law Today
It is illegal to drive under the influence of prescription drugs if they impair your driving ability. However, if you were charged with DWI, we can fight for the best possible outcome for your case. If you need legal help after being charged with a DWI for any reason, contact Blass Law at (713) 225-1900.