Driving while intoxicated is one of the most serious criminal offense a person can commit when behind the wheel of an automobile. Drinking and Driving is the cause of over 50% of the driving related fatalities on Texas roads and highways. For more information to educate yourself of the dangers of drunk driving, review the featured video below.
Just like when a person operates a vehicle intoxicated by alcohol, driving a car while under the influence of drugs is illegal in all states in the U.S. You can get arrested for a DUI for driving on any drug including marijuana and legal prescription drugs. “According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2016 11.8 million people drove under the influence of illicit drugs.”
A study done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed that “more than 18 percent of fatally injured drivers tested positive for at least one illegal or prescription drug in 2009.” Driving while under the influence of drugs is just as dangerous as driving drunk and is taken just as seriously by the law.
For this reason, law enforcement has ramped up DUI enforcement efforts in Texas, leading to many wrongful arrests.
Driving Under The Influence of Drugs In Texas
In the state of Texas driving under the influence of drugs is treated similarly to charges faced when arrested for driving a vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol. The Texas Penal Code defines intoxicated 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.”
In the state of Texas, there is an implied consent for drug and alcohol tests if a police officer suspects you are driving while intoxicated. If you refuse to take a test, your refusal can be used against you and you can still face criminal charges. If an officer believes you are driving while under the influence and the blood or urine test comes up positive, then you will face Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charges.
According to Texas DPS, the white male population is the demographic that is arrested the most for DUI. Of the nearly 90,000 DUI arrests a year that take place in Texas, most of them are alcohol-related. Even with a decreasing drug abuse arrest rate, there are still thousands of people a year charged with driving under the influence of drugs in the state of Texas.
Criminal Penalties For DUI In Texas
The penalties you can face if convicted of driving under the influence of drugs are the exact same as DWI for alcohol charges in the state of Texas. Since there are no intoxication levels with drugs any proof of influence will get you the same penalties as driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher will. In Texas, the penalties get worse if you get charged with more than one DUI offense.
For a first DUI offense, you can face 3 to 180 days in jail, up to a $2,000 fine and get your driver’s license suspended for 90 to 365 days. For a second DUI offense, a person can face 30 days to 1 year in jail, up to a $4,000 fine and get their license taken away for 180 days to 2 years. If someone is charged with a third DUI offense they can face a minimum of two years in prison, up to a $10,000 fine and 180 days to 2 years of their driver’s license being suspended.
In addition to fines and jail time, a person convicted of driving under the influence of drugs can be ordered drug/alcohol treatment and/or probation. During probation, the defendant will have to regularly report to a probation officer who will make sure they are completing everything they need to do as ordered by law. In DUI cases, people convicted are often ordered drug tests, treatment and community service.
Potential DUI Defenses And Your Rights
DUI for drugs cases can be hard to win because according to the law if drugs are found in your system while driving you can be considered intoxicated. However, some drugs such as marijuana stay in your system longer than they can intoxicate someone. In some cases, a person will be found not to be intoxicated while driving even though a drug test showed narcotics in their system. In other cases, the drug test may have shown a false positive, meaning that the test said there were drugs in your system when there wasn’t. If you hire a lawyer to represent you, then they will be able to tell you what your best defense can be.
Need A Lawyer In Texas?
Getting a DUI charge can be a difficult and life-changing process. Having a lawyer to represent you can save you time, money and lots of headaches. During the DUI conviction process there are many hoops to jump through with the court system and the department of motor vehicles. A lawyer will stand by your side and help you through all of the legal hurdles your DUI charge will throw at you.
According to the CDC, someone is killed as a result of alcohol-impaired driving every 50 minutes or so. These statistics perfectly illustrate the numbers of drunk drivers on the roads today. While drunk drivers are a danger to themselves, you are also at risk when using the same road as a person who driving driving or DWI. Below are tips on how to avoid drunk drivers while limited your exposure to the risk they pose.
Buckle Your Seatbelt
The first defense against drunk drivers is using your seatbelt. If you happen to see an impaired driver ahead of you, make sure that everyone in your car is buckled up in case there is a crash. Furthermore, having your seatbelt on can reduce injuries in the unfortunate event that you or a loved one is in a vehicle that’s involved in a wreck.
Keep a Generous Following Distance
Staying a safe distance away from drivers you suspect are drunk is a good strategy to avoid intoxicated drivers on the road in Houston. Never try to overtake the motorist who is driving while intoxicated. Instead, keep a generous following distance between you and the driver so that you have an eye on his or her erratic behavior. Apart from just keeping your distance, be your brother’s keeper and call local law enforcement to come in and pull the driver off the road. After all, an arrested for drunk driving is one thing, but criminal charges related to intoxication manslaughter is a different matter altogether.
Avoid Late Driving
During the holiday season, celebrations usually involve people becoming intoxicated before driving home late at night. Therefore, your best remedy is staying at home in the evenings to avoid running into such individuals on the road. If possible, stay off the roads on drinking holidays and you will have the best chance of avoiding an encounter with a drunk driving. Most Texas DWI litigation trial lawyers in Houston will agree with this.
A drunk driver can ruin your day and even cause you to be hospitalized for a long time. They can even kill you. Therefore, you need to stay safe by watching out for such drivers and doing everything possible to avoid them. Even if you’re successful at avoiding a collision with an impaired motorist, do the public a favor and alert local law enforcement of their presence. Due to the nature and dangers posed by drunk drivers in Houston, we all have a responsibility to do our part to keep our roads safe.
I’ve known a number of people who have been stopped by the police for suspicion of drinking and driving and I also know a number of others who were not intoxicated at all, but accused to be so by law enforcement.
If this ever happens to you, contact a DWI defense lawyer in your area as soon as possible.
Being arrested for a DWI related criminal offense is serious business. It can affect your job possibilities and can also reappear as a bad reminded of the past in the form of a criminal record. We recommend talking a lawyer who can help you fight a DWI offense in the court of law.
However, if you are tried in the court of law and found guilty, depending on the details of the case and any previous criminal history you may have, you may be able to get out of going to jail with a chance at having the criminal record removed from your background. Talk with a DUI lawyer to learn more about your options. Good Luck.