Driving while intoxicated (DWI) does not only include alcohol, but drugs as well. Driving while intoxicated on controlled substances or any drugs that may impair one’s driving ability is illegal. The most common non-prescription drug seen on the road besides alcohol is marijuana. Since marijuana possession in Texas is mostly banned (exc. medical marijuana), driving while intoxicated on marijuana may be condemned harsher than driving while intoxicated on alcohol, since it includes the illegal use of the drug. Consult with criminal defense attorney immediately if you are charged with a marijuana DWI.
A marijuana DWI accusation can lead to a severe penalty including time in jail. While alcohol only based DWIs have an exact measure for intoxication that impairs driving (0.08 BAC or higher), no such measures have been established for marijuana. You are not alone. Instead, you want to assure a strong legal defense team by your side when navigating the criminal prosecution procedure.
Our attorneys have handled countless of DWI cases involving marijuana. We have worked effortlessly to eliminate or reduce charges for many of our clients and can do the same for you. As soon as we take your case to our hands, we work rapidly to assure you and your family may resume your normal lives again.
We work with clients in the cities of Houston, Katy, Galveston, Cypress, Aldine, Tomball, and more. Consult with our attorney by calling (832) 530-4070 or fill out an initial contact form at the bottom of the page.
Marijuana DWI Information Center
Effects of Driving While Impaired by Marijuana
While years of research have compressed the effects of different blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels on intoxicated drivers, marijuana still has yet to provide a uniform consensus of how certain marijuana amounts impairs drivers. Effects of marijuana on any individual any time of the day varies greatly. Factors such as tolerance, method of consumption, and other substances like alcohol that are present may hinder or incite the effects of marijuana found on individuals. Marijuana may actually be the least impairing type of recreational drug, and controlled substances in general. While any adverse effect of marijuana consumption is mainly dependent on its THC level, general marijuana effects may include the following:
- Slow Reaction Time or Decision-making
- Impair Coordination
- Distorted Perception
- Short-term memory changes
- Reduced motor skill abilities
While a urine or blood test provides information about the current or past presence of marijuana in the body, the research behind calculating an exact concentration of THC present in the body has not been concise. Possession of marijuana may be deemed a criminal offense, however, actual intoxication by definition can be largely debated. The presence of other drugs and alcohol in the body may also get overlooked by a desire to spotlight the presence of an illegal drug such as marijuana just to make a point. In this case, finding out which drug actually had a harsher effect on the behavior of the driver when facing a DWI charge can be difficult.
Texas Marijuana DWI Offenses
Tex. Penal Code § 49.01(2) refers to “intoxicated” as meaning the following: “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;”
Texas laws do not explicitly establish non-alcohol DWIs offenses, however since intoxication includes any controlled substance like marijuana, the offenses can be viewed as similar.
Texas Marijuana DWI penalties
Class B misdemeanor + 72 hours minimum confinement term
- Intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place
Class A misdemeanor + 30-day minimum confinement term
- Previous one-time conviction of an offense relating to being intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place
State Jail Felony
- Intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place & carrying a passenger younger than 15 years old.
3rd Degree Felony
- Intoxication assault: intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place & by accident or mistake, due to the intoxication causes serious bodily injury to another.
2nd Degree Felony
- Intoxication manslaughter: intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place & by accident or mistake, due to the intoxication causes the death of another.
- Intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place & caused serious bodily injury to firefighter or emergency medical services personnel
- Intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place & caused serious bodily injury to another leading to a traumatic brain injury and persistent vegetative state
1st Degree Felony
- Intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place & caused serious bodily injury to a peace officer or judge
- Intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place & caused the death of firefighter or emergency medical services personnel or a peace officer or judge
Enhanced penalties that are not specified may occur when an individual is charged with multiple accounts occurring under the same type of offense, including past convicted charges. The judge is ultimately responsible for deciding the penalties of such charges.
AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety | Drivers Arrested for Driving Under the Influence Data – The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has a research data evaluating the driver arrests for driving under marijuana intoxication. While no specific concentration of THC has been established for leading to a driver arrest, the study has provided findings in which certain patterns were found in specific levels of THC concentration leading to arrests.
National Library of Medicine | Effects of Driving Under the Influence of Cannabis Versus Alcohol – The National Library of Medicine has released a study on the effects of driving under the influence of cannabis versus alcohol. The effects are found to be drastically different from each other and may say something about the way they’re equally used for DWIs.
Contact a Harris County Marijuana DWI Attorney
Even breathalyzers can produce erroneous results that can lead to the harsh conviction of a driver during a DWI charge. If you are accused of a marijuana DWI, there is no measure to know exactly how intoxicated you were while driving, unless a proper blood test has been administered. You may be facing false accusations if you do not have a legal counsel who is assuring your rights are being kept, and you are receiving a fair trial.
At The Gonzalez Law Group, we are determined to be fighting for the rights of Texas residents who are facing criminal charges. The average individual does not know what to do if getting charged with an offense, and at times any small action can deter the chances of an individual possibly eliminating or reducing charges. Contact our attorneys at The Gonzalez Law Group as soon as you are suspected of a marijuana DWI crime. We work with residents of the counties of Harris, Fort Bend, Chambers, Liberty, Galveston, Montgomery, and more. Call (832) 530-4070 for a consultation or reach us through an initial contact form on your webpage.