Controlled Substance DWI

It’s common for people to associate driving while intoxicated (DWI) solely with alcohol. Texas law would, however, disagree with you. You could be charged with DWI for driving impaired on a controlled substance since the effects are similar to inebriation. A controlled substance can still lead to a high blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) like alcohol. The majority of controlled substances inhibit your motor controls and can affect your driving. Even driving after taking some prescription drugs can lead to a DWI. If you or someone you know has been charged with DWI involving drugs, it’s imperatnive you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Attorney for Drug DWI in Houston, Texas

In 2016, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 16 percent of all motor vehicle crashes involved drug-use. Texas has decided to combat this with stringent DWI laws. If you or someone you know has been charged with DWI, it’s crucial you seek legal representation. The attorneys at Tyler Flood & Associates, Inc. have handled numerous DWI cases in Texas.

They’re passionate about criminal defense and will use their knowledge in DWI law to assist you. Call Tyler Flood & Associates, Inc. today at (713) 224-5529 to schedule a case consultation. Tyler Flood & Associates, Inc. represents clients throughout the greater Houston area including River Oaks, Uptown, Pasadena and West University Place. Overview of Drug Impaired DWI in Texas

Are Drugs Included in DWI Laws in Texas?

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious charge under Texas law. Many believe it only incorporates alcoholic beverages, but the truth is you could be charged for driving under the influence of drugs as well. The Texas Penal Code § 49.04 states you’re committing DWI if you:

  • Drive a motor vehicle on public roads; and
  • Your blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) is at or above .08 OR your physical and mental faculties are impaired by alcohol or a controlled substance

It’s much easier to detect a person is inebriated from alcohol. Law enforcement use chemical tests to measure BAC and field sobriety tests to assess your physical and mental faculties. With drugs, it can get a little more complicated.

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DWI Drug Testing in Houston, Texas

Police officers will often default to urine or blood analysis if they suspect drug-impaired driving. Urinalysis will identify drugs through a urine sample. However, the process is by no means perfect. Urine test results often bring up substances you used days or weeks ago because they’re still in your system. For example, you could have marijuana in your system for up to two weeks even if you’re not a heavy user. The metabolites and other chemicals will still remain in your body days or even weeks after you consumed the drug. You could be charged with DWI because the drugs you used days ago appeared on you results. A blood draw is the most accurate test when it comes to drug use. Even then, it still has problems. Lab technicians could make human errors which could lead to a false positive. In some cases, the equipment used at the crime lab is outdated and your results can come back incorrect. A common question for attorney is if you should submit to DWI testing. Most attorneys would answer no, you shouldn’t comply with DWI testing. Law enforcement can detect drugs in your system through urine or blood analysis. Additionally, submitting to chemical testing will increase your chances of reducing or dismissing your charges. The prosecution heavily relies on DWI testing results to make a conviction. A refusal will make their job difficult because they will have to rely on circumstantial and objective evidence. Because of this, it’s highly advised you refuse DWI testing.

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Penalties for DWI in Harris County, Texas

Drug-impaired driving has the same legal consequences as an alcohol-related DWI. The penalties will depend on if you have prior DWI convictions or the circumstances of the DWI. The chart below lists the maximum statutory penalties for DWI.

Number of Offenses: Offense Level: Jail/Prison Time: Fine:

First Offense

Class B Misdemeanor Minimum of 72 hours in jail; maximum of 180 days in jail


Second Offense

Class A Misdemeanor

Minimum of 30 days in jail; maximum of 12 months in jail


Third Offense Third-Degree Felony Minimum of 2 years in prison; maximum of 10 years in prison


A judge could add conditions to your sentencing if you are convicted of DWI. You must complete these conditions as a part of your legal punishment. Some of these conditions include:

  • License suspension;
  • Required community service;
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device (IID);
  • Drug and alcohol evaluation;
  • Community supervision;
  • Completion of a DWI Education Program;
  • Annual fee by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) of up to $2,000 for 3 years

Aggravating factors could reclassify your DWI into the next higher level of offense. If you have a child passenger in the car during the offense, then your DWI is a state jail felony. A state jail felony is punishable by:

  • Up to 24 months in state jail; and
  • A possible fine of up to $10,000

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Drug Recognition Experts in Harris County, Texas

Texas has developed a new way for law enforcement to detect drug use. The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) developed a curriculum which instructs police officers on how to identify people under the influence of drugs. Successfully completing the program will earn a police officer the title of Drug Recognition Expert (DRE). DRE utilizes a 12-step procedure to determine if a person has used drugs, which include:

  • Question the driver to evaluate their awareness;
  • Administer a breathalyzer test;
  • Examine their eye-tracking with exercises and compelling questions;
  • Evaluate their eyes with the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN0, the Lack of Convergence (LOC) and the Vertical Gaze Nystagmus (VGN);
  • Use field sobriety tests to measure physical and mental faculties;
  • Examine vital signs such as blood pressure, pulse or body temperature;
  • Assess their pupil size with a penlight and pupilometer;
  • Evaluating their muscle tone;
  • Checking their arms for any injection sites;
  • Question the driver about suspicious evidence found in the 12-step process; and
  • Obtain a urine or blood sample for testing.

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Additional Resources

Drugged Driving – Visit Get Smart About Drugs, a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) resource for educators and parents. Access the site to find infograms surrounding drug-impaired driving, DWI statistics and answers to frequently asked questions. Impaired Driving Statistics – Visit the official website of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to statistics detailing DUI and DWI incidents. Access the site to learn how frequent drug-related DWI is, the cost of DWI per year and what are the effects of BAC.

Lawyer for Drug Impaired DWI in Harris County, Texas

If you or someone you know has been charged with drug-related DWI, it’s vital you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Law enforcement can still detect drug-use through chemical testing. Not only this, but they now have Drug Recognition Experts who can identify drug use through their training. Don’t take your chances with DWI charges.

Call Tyler Flood & Associates, Inc. to gain trusted legal representation today. Our firm prides themselves on providing quality legal service to all clients. We can discuss your charges and start the first steps of your defense plan. Contact us at (713) 224-5529 to schedule a free consultation. Tyler Flood & Associates, Inc. defends clients throughout the greater Harris County area including Bellaire, Houston, West University Place and Pasadena.

This article last updated on March 7th, 2019.


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Robert Henderson
Robert Henderson
December 22, 2023.
I want to give a special thanks to Tyler Flood & Associates. Getting charged with a dwi was the worst feeling and situation I've been in, but the professionalism and confidence that Tyler Fllod & Associates showed throughout my case definitely helped me get some sleep at night. Then when they called and let me know that my case was dismissed and all charges dropped was incredible. Once again, thanks to Tyler Flood & Associates.
Zeta Ze
Zeta Ze
December 15, 2023.
Houston DWI/DUI Tyler Flood is the best lawyer to represent you in a DWI/DUI case. Mr. Flood saved my license from being suspended in a non-refusal weekend. In a case, where I feel I did everything wrong and had 0 chance, in my opinion, for a dismissal, my only hope and chance was to hire Mr. Flood and his firm. Having had previous experience with Mr. Flood's firm, I felt that if I had any percentage chance of a dismissal, I had to go with Mr. Flood again. As I am writing this review, I'm still in shock and awe in how Mr. Flood was able to get a dismissal before trial completely started. Mr. Flood knew the law better than the arresting officer and Prosecutors. Even the judge was impressed and paid him a compliment after the dismissal. In my opinion, if you want a fighting chance, hire Mr. Flood and his firm. Mr. Flood genuinely cares about all his clients and does not merely see you as a customer. He and his team are always working on your case. Trust his process. They are absolutely the BEST.
briana Munoz
briana Munoz
December 5, 2023.
Thanks to Tyler Flood I am able to continue my life, him and his partners were amazing in guiding me throughout this hard process. Tyler and his team got me a CASE DISMISSED on my DWI case. His team kept in contact with me on every small detail about my case while being able to thoroughly explain every possibility for me. I also never had to step foot in a courtroom! Him and his team had my back every step of the way and never made me feel like it was not going to be okay. Tyler flood is the BEST DWI/DUI attorney no doubt, please consider letting him take your case if you are ever in need of an amazing lawyer.
October 19, 2023.
When I found myself in a precarious situation and didn’t know where or who to turn to I was recommended to Tyler Flood and Associates. After researching and reading many reviews I decided to hire and retain Flood and Associates services. This was one of the best decisions I made in my life, not only were they there for me in every dim moment and never too busy to answer every question I had whether it was frivolous or not, his expertise was demonstrated to me during my trial. So much so that two other defendants asked for his name and number during my trial. He fought tooth-and-nail for me and he will for you too. I’m only rating him five stars because I can’t rate him any higher. I’ll thank him for the rest of my life.
October 12, 2023.
Houston DWI/DUI Attorney Tyler Flood is the best in the business! Tyler and his team made the entire process stress free for what is a very stressful situation. From winning the first administrative hearing (to retain my license/avoid a breathalyzer) to getting the dismissal before trial even started. He is truly the best in the business!
Cesar Ricardez
Cesar Ricardez
October 3, 2023.
I hired Tyler Flood the day after my DUI arrest after reading glowing reviews about him and I couldn’t be happier that I did so. He took care of both my cases to keep my driving rights and the misdemeanor DUI charge in court. I never even had to appear in court or do anything, him and his team took care of anything while I carried on with my life and would just get updates whenever they appeared in court on my behalf. At the end, my driver license was never suspended and they got my case dismissed. Lesson learned, I don’t wish anyone to get in my situation but if you do, don’t hesitate to hire Tyler Flood and his team, they are extremely professional and they go for the win. No deal, no probation, got it all dismissed.
September 14, 2023.
Tyler Flood, Houston DWI/DUI attorney is fantastic! He is professional, smart and takes pride in getting the best possible outcome for you. This was my second DWI and I didn't want to take chances. I found him on Google and I too was in disbelief with all the 5.0 star reviews. Upon meeting him I quickly discovered it was all true. A lawyer with his own science lab WTH??????? Long story short he got my case dismissed without going to court. You can not put a price on freedom. The only downside is I only hope to need his services this one time. 😀 Thanks again Mr. Flood God bless.
John Sellers
John Sellers
August 31, 2023.
Houston DUI/DWI attorney Tyler Flood is the guy to go to!! I started my journey with these guys on August 4th of this year, my case was dismissed before the end of the month!! Well worth it!! They are organized and efficient, kept me informed of what was going on and answered all my questions. I have shared with my friends and definitely recommend to anyone.
August 29, 2023.
Houston DUI/DWI attorney Tyler Flood is an outstanding attorney and person. If you are in need of a lawyer who understands the panic and sheer fear a family feels when this happens in their lives,Tyler Flood is the attorney for you. He has an outstanding educational background, his office includes an on-site, state-of-the-arts laboratory, and he is surrounded with a legal team to provide background and research data for him to be successful in representing you. He is a One-of-Kind, highly accomplished attorney that will promptly respond to you throughout the duration of your case. Seriously, this guy NEVER sleeps! Tyler Flood understands the importance of a person’s reputation and the seriousness of a DUI/DWI charge. If you choose to work with him, he will work with you to be successful! Tyler Flood is AWESOME!
Trey Perrett
Trey Perrett
August 14, 2023.
Words cannot express what a dominating lawyer Tyler Flood and his team are. I ran into some trouble in 2021 and I was just getting my family, career ,and life together. I was completely scared of what the repercussions could be for the rest of my life. I asked civil layers who they recommend and repeatedly Tyler Flood’s name was given to me. At my first appointment, I was overcome with anxiety of what will happen next. Tyler put me at ease immediately. He believed I had a case. They were great on response time and helping me navigate the often confusing legal system. It’s a long process to have a case brought to trial but I knew I had an amazing lawyer and his team in my corner. Finally, I received the call that my case was dismissed, and I was cleared of all charges. I could not be happier with the way he and his colleagues handled my case and brought home the W. I strongly recommend having Tyler Flood in your corner because he delivers.
Disclaimer: The information on this website does NOT constitute legal advice. If you need legal advice, then retain an attorney to discuss the facts of your case. If you would like to discuss your case with an attorney at Tyler Flood & Associates, Inc., then please contact us to schedule a consultation. Until we specifically agree to act for you on a matter, you should not provide us with any confidential information or material.
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