While driving while intoxicated (DWI) is usually associated with people getting behind the wheel after drinking too much alcohol, it is important to understand the state definition of intoxicated also includes provisions relating to the use of drugs. One of the most common kinds of drugs to result in DWI charges is marijuana.
Police are often very quick to call attention to any odor of marijuana in a motor vehicle, and people arrested for DWI often face possession of marijuana charges in addition to the drugged driving offense. Even when no marijuana is found within a vehicle, a person who admits to having smoked marijuana can still be arrested for DWI, possibly several hours after they actually smoked marijuana.
Were you or your loved one arrested for a DWI involving marijuana in the Fort Worth area? Find yourself an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy can fight to possibly get your criminal charges reduced or dismissed. Our firm can discuss your rights with you as soon as you call (817) 422-5350 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
Under Texas Penal Code § 49.04, a person commits the crime of DWI when they are intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place. Intoxicated is defined under Texas Penal Code § 49.01(2) as meaning having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more or “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.”
DWI is normally a Class B misdemeanor, but a marijuana DWI involving a passenger who is younger than 15 years of age will result in DWI with child passenger charges. DWI with child passenger is a state jail felony.
All prior DWI convictions can also be counted against you, even if they are alcohol-related. A second DWI offense is a Class A misdemeanor and a third or subsequent offense is a third-degree felony.
Alleged offenders often submit to chemical testing, usually urine tests although blood tests could be ordered in some cases. Penalties for refusal to submit to breath testing in alcohol-related DWI cases also apply to refusal to submit to drug testing.
A Class B misdemeanor is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or fines of up to $2,000. A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000. A third-degree felony is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or fines of up to $10,000.
Marijuana possession possession penalties depend on the amount of marijuana allegedly possessed. Texas classifies these crimes as follows:
Many marijuana-related DWI charges will be based on an alleged offender’s admitted use of marijuana. People who did not admit to consuming any marijuana may be able to argue they were not under the influence of the drug even when a test shows them as positive for marijuana.
Keep in mind that chemical tests only demonstrate that drugs are in a person’s system, but they are not necessarily indicative that the drugs were active at the time of an alleged offense. An experienced lawyer will be able to call attention to the flaws in a prosecutor’s argument and create the reasonable doubt needed to help you avoid a conviction.
Does marijuana use affect driving? | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) — Learn more about the effects of marijuana on driving on this NIDA website page. Marijuana is the illicit drug most frequently found in the blood of drivers who have been involved in vehicle crashes. A large case-control study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found no significant increased crash risk attributable to cannabis but several meta-analyses of multiple studies found that the risk of being involved in a crash significantly increased after marijuana use.
Marijuana | DEA — This United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) website page is dedicated to marijuana. You can find information about what marijuana is, how it is used, and common street names. You can also download a fact sheet and learn about effects on the body.
If you or your loved one were arrested for an alleged DWI involving marijuana in Fort Worth or another community in Tarrant County, it will be very important for your to quickly find legal representation. Do not delay in contacting the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy.
Our firm regularly handles all kinds of DWI cases involving controlled substances. Call (817) 422-5350 or contact us online to receive a free consultation.