Prescription drugs are often a part of the treatment regimen to resolve medical issues. However, you should be aware that even when you are taking your medications as prescribed by a doctor and are in lawful possession of them, you could be charged Texas prescription drug DWI if the drug impairs your driving ability.
Can Prescription Drugs Cause Intoxication?
Texas Penal Code defines intoxication as not having the normal use of physical or mental faculties due to consumption of alcohol, a drug, a controlled substance, or a combination of some of these substances. This legal description of intoxication is in addition to the commonly understood BAC (blood alcohol concentration) level of 0.08 or more in the body.
Prescription drugs are covered under this legal definition. In fact, many prescription medications are sold with a warning which says that it may cause drowsiness as a side effect and the user should avoiding driving while they are on this medication. If you are facing a DWI charge due to this reason, your Texas DWI attorney can provide a strong defense.
The prosecution in these cases will not only be required to prove that you consumed the prescription drug, but also that its ingestion resulted in your inability to normally use your physical or mental faculties.
Texas Prescription Drug DWI Penalties
A first offense for Texas prescription drug DWI is generally treated as a Class B misdemeanor. If convicted, you can face penalties including imprisonment for 3 days to 180 days, suspension of your driver’s license for one year, fines of up to $8,000, and community service of 24 to 100 hours. The second offense of this type will be considered a Class A misdemeanor, while a third offense will be a third-degree felony.
If other factors such as having a child passenger in your vehicle or carrying an open alcohol container is present, additional sanctions may be imposed (such as increased jail time). Sometimes you may also be charged with illegal possession in addition to prescription drug DWI. It is important to take these charges seriously, and your first step should be, consult with a competent Texas DWI attorney.
Burden of Proof
The only requirement for a Texas prescription drug DWI charge is that a law enforcement officer should have knowledge that you have ingested a prescription medication. However, they will typically consider a number of facts and circumstances before charging you with DWI and placing you under arrest.
When a police officer stops your car and you confirm that you took a prescription drug, they will ask questions such as the type of medication, the dosage you ingested, and at what time you had taken it. Some of the prescription medications are likely to receive more attention from law enforcement in Texas include Ambien, Oxycontin, Vicodin, Xanax, and Valium.
In the event of your DWI arrest, the officer will ask you to submit your blood sample. You have a right to refuse to provide the sample, but you should be aware of these two consequences: (a) you may have to face additional penalties; and (b) the officer will obtain a warrant and then force you to provide a blood sample.
Speak to an Experienced Texas DWI Attorney
A Texas prescription drug DWI arrest is a serious matter. Our focused legal team at Flood-Lewis & Associates has a deep understanding of DWI laws in the state and will explore every possible legal avenue to achieve a successful outcome in your case. Call us 24/7, 365 at 713.224.5529 to seek a free consultation with one of our attorneys or contact us online.