Little do most people realize, driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges can implicate more than just alcoholic beverages.

DWI allegations also include individuals who have been accused of being impaired due to various controlled substances, such as cocaine, marijuana, or even prescription drug misuse.

According to Tex. Pen. Code § 49.01(2), “intoxicated” is defined as “not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance in the body….”

Thus, the very definition of “intoxication” includes operating a motor vehicle while being impaired by a controlled substance.

**Update: First time DWI offenders may qualify to have their DWI records expunged. Speak with experienced criminal defense attorney Michael J. Price to learn more about nondisclosure law in Texas.

Attorney for DWI with Drugs in Georgetown, Texas

If you or someone you know has been charged with operating a motor vehicle, including a boat, while under the influence of a controlled substance, a dangerous drug, or a substance like marijuana, contact our experienced criminal defense attorney at Price & Twine, PLLC.

Attorney Michael J. Price is an experienced DWI defense attorney, who zealously advocates on behalf of those accused of driving while intoxicated by drugs. He fights for clients throughout the courtrooms in Williamson County, and in the surrounding areas of Milam County, Lee County, Bastrop County, Travis County, and Burnet County, TX.

Contact Price & Twine, PLLC at (512) 354-1880 now to schedule a no obligations, confidential, consultation with our experienced Texas DWI attorney.

DWI With Drugs Information Center

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DWI Drugs in Georgetown TX

According to Texas Penal Code § 49.09, an individual can be charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI), or driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or controlled substances if he or she operates a motor vehicle while intoxicated in a public place.

It is important to note that in Texas, a motor vehicle is anything that is used to transport people or property, except those vehicles like trains or those on stationary rails or tracks.

To be implicated under Section 49.09, an individual must have actual physical control of the vehicle. Actual physical control in Texas, involves an individual being in or near the vehicle and having the present ability to operate the vehicle.

Whether the accused was actually driving the vehicle is not considered. Thus, a person who is sitting in a motor vehicle in a public place while under the influence of drugs can be charged with a DWI.

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Schedule of Controlled Substances

The State of Texas categorizes controlled substances into schedules. The schedule level depends on the dangerousness of the controlled substance.

Schedule I drugs are considered the most dangerous. Schedule I drugs have a high risk of abuse and there is no safe, accepted medical use of these drugs in the U.S.

Some common examples of Schedule I drugs include the following:

  • Heroin
  • Marijuana
  • Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD)
  • Crack Cocaine
  • PCP
  • Ecstasy
  • Opium

Schedule II drugs are those drugs with a high abuse risk, but they are considered safe and accepted for medical use in the United States. While Schedule II drugs are used in serous medical procedures, they can cause severe psychological or physical dependence. Some examples of Schedule II drugs include:

  • Morphine
  • Cocaine
  • Oxycodone
  • Methylphenidate (Ritalin)
  • Dextroamphetamine

Schedule III, IV, and V drugs all have less of a risk of abuse than those drugs in schedules I or II, and are accepted for medical use in the United States, however, these drugs have still caused impairment.

Some examples of Schedules three through five drugs include the following:

  • Tranquilizers
  • Sedatives
  • Stimulants
  • Acetaminophen
  • Paregoric
  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Alprazolam (Xanx)
  • Propoxyphene (Darvon)

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How to Detect Drugs in a DWI

Since you cannot detect drugs in an individual’s system using a breathalyzer, the question of how controlled substances are detected in support of a DWI allegation often arises.

When a person is arrested for DWI in Georgetown, TX, a law enforcement official may request to take the alleged offender’s blood for testing.

Such a request may follow an individual failing a field sobriety test, yet blowing under the legal limit of .08 after a breath test.  According to the U.S. Supreme Court, a law enforcement officer must have a warrant to take a blood sample, except in certain circumstances.

A DWI drug test is generally done through a process called gas chromatography. In this process, a medical professional compares the driver’s blood sample to a controlled blood sample and determines whether there were chemical substances in the accused person’s system at the time he or she was operating a motor vehicle.

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Georgetown, TX Penalties for DWI Controlled Substances

The type of DWI penalty handed down will depend on the number of previous DWI convictions the offender has, or other circumstances surrounding the DWI.

A first DWI drug conviction in Texas may be charged as a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and up to $2,000 fines.

A second DWI drug conviction may be charge as a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and up to $4,000 fines.

A third or subsequent DWI conviction is generally charged as a third degree felony, punishable by up to ten years (10) in prison and up to $10,000 fines. Other penalties include driver’s license suspension for up to two years.

Intoxication Manslaughter –if an individual is skilled as a result of the offender’s DWI with drugs, the result can be charged as a second-degree felony. A second-degree DWI felony is punishable by up to twenty (20) years in prison and up to $10,000 fines.

Additional punishments for DWI convictions may include the following:

  • Ignition interlock device installation;
  • DWI school;
  • Community service;
  • Community supervision or probation; or
  • Automatic license suspension.

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Additional DWI Resources

Texas Penal Code – Section 49.09 – Visit the Texas State Legislature’s website to find the link to § 49.04 of the Texas Penal Code, which defines useful terms regarding Texas driving while intoxicated laws, such as “intoxication,” and other terms like drugs and alcohol.

Implied Consent – Learn more about the Texas “implied consent” law, which describes an individual’s consent to a chemical test in exchange for the privilege of driving on Texas roads. The statute outlines the consequences for refusing a blood test authorized by a law enforcement agency.

Texas Drug Offender Education Program – Visit the Texas Department of State website for more information about DWI drug education programs and the requirements of complete to reinstate your Texas driver’s license.

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Find a Lawyer for DWI Drug Charges in Williamson County, TX

Contact Price & Twine, PLLC for more information about how an experienced DWI defense attorney can fight for the best possible result in a DWI case.  Attorney Michael J. Price has been fighting throughout Georgetown, Texas for years and will make every effort to help you avoid serious DUI/DWI penalties.

Call (512) 354-1880 today to schedule a one-on-one, no obligations, consultation with our lawyer.