Yes, it is illegal to drive while high in Texas. Some people might mistakenly think that you can only get a DWI for driving while drunk, but the Texas Penal Code makes it clear that DWIs include other drugs as well.
How the Texas Penal Code Defines Intoxication
Chapter 49 of the Texas Penal Code defines intoxicated as:
“(A) 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; or
(B) having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.”
The substance you take must keep you from having the normal use of your mental or physical faculties. So, taking an aspirin would not affect your ability to operate a car, but taking heroin would. Let’s say that you injured your back. The doctor prescribed muscle relaxants and painkillers. If you drive after taking these drugs and they affected your physical or mental ability to operate the vehicle, you could get a DWI.
The substances banned when driving can include such things as street drugs, prescription drugs when obtained illegally because of an addiction, prescription drugs when taken as directed, over-the-counter medications, and herbal or other natural supplements and remedies. The fact that a substance is not illegal does not matter for purposes of a DWI.
Also, the statute prohibits driving when you have two or more of the banned substances in your body. You might have an alcohol level that is below the legal limit, but if you also took sleeping pills that, combined with the alcohol, caused you to fall asleep at the wheel, you can get a DWI in Texas.
Driving While Intoxicated
You can get DWI in Texas if you are intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place. You can also face criminal charges if you operate an aircraft or a boat under the influence.
Mental State Is Not a Defense
The prosecution will not have to prove that you intended to drive while high. Texas law does not look at your mental state for purposes of a DWI.
What Happens if You Get Convicted of a DWI
The lowest level of DWI can get you a Class B misdemeanor conviction with a potential for jail time. If you had an open container in your immediate possession at the time of the offense, you face a minimum confinement time of six days.
If this is your second DWI, this one will be a Class A misdemeanor. If your alcohol concentration was 0.15 or more, the offense is a class A misdemeanor. The prosecutor can use the results of blood, breath, or urine testing. Class A misdemeanor DWIs in Texas carry a minimum confinement term of 30 days.
You can face enhanced charges and penalties for additional factors, like:
- Having two or more previous DWIs
- The offense caused serious bodily harm or death to another person
You can get convicted of a state jail felony if there was a passenger younger than 15 years in the vehicle at the time of the offense.
What a DWI Conviction Can Do to Your Life Now and in the Future
If you get arrested for a DWI, it could cost you tens of thousands of dollars. You can have court costs, massive fines, and attorney fees. You will have to pay much more for car insurance for years. A conviction will be on your permanent criminal record.
Jail time is a real possibility, as well as suspension of your driving privileges. You could lose your job and not be able to get into the college or career or your choice. Your only viable chance is to try to beat the charges, and a DWI attorney is your best tool to do that.
Getting a Texas DWI Lawyer to Help with Your Criminal Charges
At Eddington Worley Attorneys, our team will help you fight your DWI charges. We will fight hard to protect your rights and your future. Call us at (855) 600-6695 for a free case review.