By Brooke Price
Before ever getting a driver’s license and starting the engine for the first time, we are told repeatedly about the dangers of drunk driving. We are taught that the legal limit is 0.08, uber is installed on every cell phone, and a reliable designated driver is established. But what happens when we are impaired from things like prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, or other controlled substances?
Drowsiness, headaches, anxiety, and vertigo are just a few of the possible side effects of medicines that we take every day. Even medicines that are prescribed can cause unintended consequences that result in an inability to properly operate a vehicle if they are incorrectly dosed or mixed with other substances.
According to Texas Law, intoxication 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 into the body” (Texas Penal Code §49.0).
Because prescription and OTC drugs are legal to possess, it is under the discretion of the officer to determine if you are no longer fit to drive safely. The officer will seek to determine if you are under the influence of a prescription or other drug and will likely ask you to provide a blood sample or request a warrant for one. The presence of a prescription drug in your system alone is not sufficient grounds for a conviction—there must also be evidence you were impaired. If you are charged for your first offense, it will be at least a class B misdemeanor.
It is also worth noting that Texas has a zero-tolerance policy for driving under the influence of illicit drugs, like marijuana. A DWI conviction for a prescription drug can carry the same punishment as a DWI conviction for marijuana.
If you have been arrested for a DWI drug charge in Williamson County, call the Law Office of Price & Wiggins, P.C. so that we can review your case.