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Marijuana DWI

The majority of people associate DWI with alcohol, but this isn’t always the case. You can be charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) if you’re under the influence of drugs such as marijuana. If you have cannabis on your person during the stop, then you could also be facing possession charges alongside your DWI.

You should never take DWI charges lightly. A DWI conviction could lead to thousand-dollar fines, incarceration and added conditions such as community service or a license suspension. Additional possession charges could enhance your penalties even further. Don’t wait another moment to resolve this issue.

If you or someone you know has been charged with driving under the influence of marijuana, it’s important you gain trusted legal representation.

Attorney for Cannabis DWI in Harris County, Texas

The United States Legislation has become more comfortable with recreational cannabis. However, Texas still considers possession or sale of cannabis to be a crime. You could be charged with DWI if you drive under the influence of marijuana.

Fight these charges today with an attorney from Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc.. The attorneys at Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. can build a formidable defense against your charges. Let us guide you through this legal process. Contact (713) 224-5529 today to schedule a free case consultation.

Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. accepts clients throughout the greater Houston metropolitan area including Uptown, River Oaks, Midtown and Magnolia Park.

Overview of Marijuana DWI in Texas


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How Can Police Tell If You’re Driving High?

Texas law enforcement will determine if you’re impaired by your blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) or by assessing your physical and mental faculties. Field sobriety tests are used to evaluate physical and mental faculties. Chemical testing is used to determine BAC, which is the number of grams of alcohol per:

  • 67 milliliters of urine;
  • 210 liters of breath; or
  • 100 milliliters of blood

If you have a BAC of ..08 or higher, then you’ll be arrested for DWI. The majority of law enforcement will use BAC to prove you’re driving high. Marijuana cannot easily be detected on a breathalyzer, but it can be found in a urine or blood test. In fact, metabolites and other traces of cannabis can stay in your system for up to six weeks. This means you could test positive for marijuana even if you haven’t smoked it all day. Because of this, most attorneys would advise you to refuse chemical testing.

Field sobriety tests are a series of physical exercises designed to test your physical and mental faculties. You may have seen a variety of these on the internet, but only three can be admissible in court. These have been standardized by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) and include the horizontal gaze nystagmus, the one-leg stand, and the walk-and-turn.


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If I’ve Been Smoking Marijuana, Should I Refuse Testing?

Texas has established laws to address chemical testing by law enforcement. These are referred to as implied consent laws, which state any driver who uses Texas public roads is implicitly agreeing to chemical testing. This means a refusal could lead to an administrative penalty.

If you choose to refuse chemical testing, then your license will automatically be suspended by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). It’s important to note this isn’t a criminal penalty, but an administrative one. You can choose to contest it with an administrative license revocation (ALR) hearing. At the hearing you’ll be able to present evidence as to why you should retain the use of your license.

Many attorneys will advise you to refuse chemical testing if you’ve consumed marijuana. The prosecution will have a difficult time convicting you without any concrete evidence. They will have to rely upon the objective evidence pulled from the dash cam or police report.

It can be a hassle to deal with a DWI refusal, but it’s likely the best choice. The worst outcome from a refusal is a license suspension and some time in jail. If you submit to testing and fail, then you could be saddled with a conviction and a slew of sentencing conditions. Some of these conditions include community service, DWI school, annual fees by DPS, probation and a license suspension.


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Penalties for Cannabis DWI in Houston, Texas

Driving while intoxicated carries some harsh penalties. If you’re convicted, your sentencing will rely on your criminal history and the circumstances surrounding the crime. Certain aggravating factors such as having a child passenger could enhance your penalties.

  • First Offense – Class B misdemeanor
    • Up to $2,000 in fines;
    • Up to 180 days in jail;
    • Up to 100 hours of community service;
    • Completion of a 12-hour DWI school;
    • Annual surcharge by DPS for three years of up to $2,000; and
    • License suspension for up to 1 year
  • Second Offense – Class A misdemeanor
    • Up to $4,000 in fines;
    • Up to 1 year in jail;
    • Up to 200 hours of community service;
    • Potential installation of an ignition interlock device;
    • Completion of a 32-hour DWI school;
    • Annual surcharge by DPS for three years of up to $2,000; and
    • License suspension for up to 2 years
  • Third Offense – Third-degree felony
    • Up to $10,000 in fines;
    • Up to 10 years in prison;
    • Up to 200 hours of community service;
    • Required installation of an ignition interlock device;
    • Annual surcharge by DPS for three years of up to $2,000; and
    • License suspension for up to 2 years

Aggravating factors could enhance your penalties even further. Having an open container in your car will result in a required jail sentence of at least six day. If you had a BAC of .15 or higher, then you’ll be charged with a class A misdemeanor. A class A misdemeanor is punishable by:

  • A possible fine of up to $4,000; and
  • Up to 1 year in jail

If you had a child passenger during the offense, then your penalty will be enhanced to a state jail felony. A state jail felony is punishable by:

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

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Texas Penalties for Possession of Marijuana

A charge commonly associated with marijuana DWI is possession. It’s illegal in Texas to possess any trace amounts of cannabis. If you’re pulled over and searched for drugs, you could be facing two charges instead of one. The penalties rely on the amount of marijuana in your possession.

Listed below are the possible penalties for possession of marijuana:

Substance Sentence Weight Jail/Prison Term Maximum Fine
Marijuana Class B Misdemeanor 2 ounces or less Up to 180 days Up to $2,000
Class A Misdemeanor 2 to 4 ounces Up to 12 months Up to $4,000
State Jail Felony 4 ounces to 5 pounds 180 days to 2 years Up to $10,000
Third-Degree Felony 5 to 50 pounds Up to 10 years Up to $10,000
Second-Degree Felony 50 to 2,000 pounds Up to 20 years Up to $10,000
First-Degree Felony Over 2,000 pounds 10 to 99 years Up to $50,000

 

It’s important to note Harris County has a misdemeanor marijuana diversion program. This means they will only arrest you if you possess four ounces or more of cannabis.


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Additional Resources

DWI Laws in Texas – Visit the official website of Texas legislation to learn more about their driving while intoxicated (DWI) laws. Access the site to find information surrounding DWI penalties, aggravated DWI and other alcohol-related offenses.

Marijuana Drug Facts – Visit the official website of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to learn more about cannabis. Access the site to learn what chemicals make up marijuana, the street names, ways it’s consumed and the effects on the body.


Lawyer for Marijuana DWI in Harris County, Texas

If you or someone you know has been charged with a DWI with cannabis, it’s crucial that you act now. A criminal record could limit your professional and personal opportunities. In addition, you will have to pay massive fines and possibly spend time in prison if convicted.

Start your defense today with Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc.. Our attorneys at Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. have years of experience in DWI law. We can craft a strong defense for you with our extensive resources. Call (713) 224-5529 now to schedule a case consultation.

Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. accepts clients throughout the greater Harris County area including Houston, Bellaire, Pasadena, West University Place and Tomball.


This article was last updated on March 7th, 2019.

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