Prescription Drug DWI Versus Non-Prescription Drug DWI: Is There a Difference?

August 3, 2020

DWI offenses in Texas are not limited to alcohol consumption alone. It is also a DWI offense in the state to drive under the influence of any type of intoxicating drugs, whether illegal, over the counter or prescription. The punishment remains the same, whether you are convicted of DWI for prescription or non-prescription drugs. 


You need to take these charges seriously, even if your alleged DWI involves something as seemingly innocuous as cold medication. It is best to seek legal advice from an accomplished Houston prescription drug DWI attorney at the first opportunity after your arrest. 


Prescription Drug DWI in Texas


Being intoxicated in Texas is defined under the law as not being in a position to normally use your physical or mental faculties because of the presence of alcohol, a drug, a controlled substance, a combination of multiple substances, or any other type of substance in the body. 


In simpler words, under the DWI statute in Texas, you could face DWI charges even if you were operating a vehicle with no alcohol in your body. However, the law does not say that operating a vehicle with any drug in the bloodstream is a DWI offense. The test is whether the presence of the drug has impaired your physical or mental capacity, such as causing sleepiness, dizziness, or drowsiness.  


Your Houston prescription drug DWI lawyer should explain to you that under the Texas DWI statute, the fact that you have a valid medical prescription from a physician to use a particular drug is not a defense. If the medication causes impairment of your driving faculties, you could still be arrested for a DWI. 


Considering this stringent law in Texas, all drivers should read the prescription drug labels to understand the potential side effects and discuss them with their physician. Prescription drug DWI cases in Texas usually involve medications such as Alprazolam, Ambien, Xanax, Soma, and Vicodin. 


Non-Prescription Drug DWI in Texas


In Texas, you could also potentially face DWI charges if a police officer alleges driving impairment caused by non-prescription (over-the-counter) drugs such as cold medications, cough medications, Tylenol PM, or even allergy drugs. 


The same severe penalties may apply when you are charged with a non-prescription drug DWI in Texas. You need to speak to an experienced Houston DWI defense attorney to protect your rights in this situation. It’s fundamental to understand that over-the-counter drugs are not controlled substances, but when they result in a DWI charge, the legal consequences for you can be life-altering. 


You will Need an Experienced Drug DWI Lawyer


A skilled and reliable Houston criminal defense attorney will evaluate the facts and circumstances of your case, and critically analyze the procedures performed and results obtained that led to your arrest. Depending on the situation, your legal counselor will determine whether an expert witness or your doctor’s testimony may help in your defense. 


But in many cases, a skilled attorney will be able to resolve your situation before it reaches that point. The key is to choose a criminal defense lawyer with knowledge and experience of successfully fighting prescription and non-prescription drug DWI cases. 


Hire an Experienced Drug DWI Lawyer in Houston

If you or someone you love has been arrested for DWI, you need dedicated legal support. At Texas-based Flood & Associates, we have a dedicated team that will fight relentlessly to win your case. Call our team 24/7, 365 at 713-224-5529 for a free case review or contact us online to request a free consultation with one of our attorneys.




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*Use of this form does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.

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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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