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By Benson Varghese

Published on: June 4th, 2020 at 3:38 PM
Last Updated: June 4th, 2020 at 3:38 PM

Everyone is familiar with DWIs regarding alcohol use. It is well-known that if a motorist has a blood alcohol concentration of a 0.08 or greater, he or she can be charged with DWI. What many people do not know is that you can also be charged with DWI if you are impaired due to prescription or illegal drugs.

Texas law says an intoxicant can be any substance. This includes illicit drugs, prescription medicine, or any substance that affects a person’s mental or physical abilities to the point where they are impaired.

The penalties associated with a drug DWI are the same as those for an alcohol-related DWI. That’s why it’s imperative to contact a seasoned DWI attorney as soon as possible after your arrest. Our Grapevine drug DWI lawyers will thoroughly evaluate your case, identify any issues with the traffic stop, tests, or police conduct, and develop a solid defense strategy. We will be with you every step of the way.

Can Someone Be Charged with Driving Impaired While Using Prescribed Drugs?

When a motorist has prescription medication in their body, the state may file a DWI charge alleging the individual does not have the normal use of their physical or mental faculties. This may occur even with them taking the proper prescribed dose.

If a prescription drug makes it difficult to speak, stand, walk in a straight line, or control a vehicle, that can be taken as a sign of intoxication. For example, Xanax is prescription drug that can cause fatigue and could put drivers at risk of a DWI, even even if taken legally and properly. That’s why many prescriptions come with warning label saying not to use heavy machinery or drive a motor vehicle.

Intoxication does not necessarily have to do with the amount of drugs in your system, whether it is a legal drug like Xanax or an illegal drug like methamphetamine. Instead, the state’s expert may decide that the discovery of drugs in a defendant’s system along with their signs of intoxication is sufficient evidence for a DWI charge in Grapevine.

Involuntary Intoxication in Grapevine

Involuntary intoxication is difficult to prove in Texas because DWI is not an offense that involves intent. In other words, a person does not have to intentionally or knowingly drive while intoxicated to be charged with DWI.

However, involuntary intoxication could possibly raised if it can be proven that there was no volitional act on the part of the driver. For example, if someone slipped something in a defendant’s drink, that becomes involuntary intoxication – someone else did something that they had no control over that caused them to be intoxicated.

Another example might be if a person regularly takes a heart medication, but someone switches what is inside their pill bottle. It is true that they intentionally took a pill, but they did not intend for it to be an intoxicating substance.

To get involuntary intoxication in Texas, one needs a solid set of facts. There are cases where it is suspected that a person was given something without their knowledge. A Grapevine defense attorney could investigate whether another person’s actions caused a defendant to operate a vehicle while intoxicated by drugs.

How Do Authorities in Grapevine Test for the Presence of Drugs?

If Grapevine authorities suspect a driver is under the influence of drugs, an officer trained in drug recognition – also called a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) –  will administer specific tests on the driver at the scene. The tests include observe observations and field sobriety tests, which are designed to reveal whether the driver is under the influence of something other than alcohol, such as a central nervous system depressant or amphetamines.

A blood draw – whether it is voluntarily or because the police got a warrant – will  determine whether or not the person has a substance in their blood that resulted in intoxicated driving.

Refusing a Drug Test

It’s important to understand that anyone who is stopped and investigated for driving while intoxicated on drugs in Grapevine is entitled to refuse the field sobriety test. They are also entitled to refuse the voluntary giving of blood to the officers for testing for a controlled substance or a prescription drug.

However, the officers have the ability to get a warrant when someone refuses. If they get a warrant, the individual should comply with the warrant and allow their blood to be drawn.

Mistakes to Avoid in a Drug DWI Case

In a drug DWI case, one of the biggest mistakes we see is drivers who willingly answer officers’ questions about their whereabouts, drug ingestion, or alcohol consumption.  Other than complying with the officer’s request for your license and proof of insurance –  which you must provide – you are not under any obligation to answer their questions and you should not.

You should also not agree to perform field sobriety tests. Our Grapevine attorneys often advise those accused of a drug DWI not to do those tests. They are easy to fail even when you are sober.

Likewise, you also should not agree to voluntarily give a specimen of your breath or blood. While it is true that an officer can obtain a warrant for your blood, from a legal standpoint, it is hard to overcome consent. In other words, if someone consents to give a blood sample, it most likely becomes evidence against them. On the other hand, if the officer has to go get a warrant for someone’s blood, the defense attorney has an opportunity to challenge the warrant and argue whether the officer had probable cause sufficient for the judge to order the police to take the person’s blood.

Get in Touch with a Grapevine Drug DWI Attorney

A DWI based on drugs is an uncommon offense in Grapevine. If you have been arrested on this charge, you need an attorney who has previous experience with these cases and is familiar with the specific tests that a DRE can administer. Our attorneys know what the officer is looking for and what the video should show if a person is intoxicated on drugs, prescription drugs, alcohol, or a combination. Our Grapevine DWI drug lawyers are skilled at defending intoxication crimes and are prepared to help you fight your case. With over 100 years of experience, we can help. Contact the lawyers at Varghese Summersett today.