Mountains of scientific evidence prove marijuana is safer than alcohol, but that doesn’t mean you should get behind the wheel after consuming the drug. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there has been a sharp increase in the number of crashes involving marijuana over the last few years.
Marijuana can impact coordination, distort perception and slow reaction time, making you a hazard to yourself and others on the road. Texas treats a DWI with marijuana the same as if you were caught drinking and driving. If convicted, you will face time behind bars, expensive fines and a suspended license.
Marijuana DWI Attorney
David Sloane is a sought-after attorney with over 20 years of experience defending clients of marijuana crimes across Texas. With a strong background in criminal investigation and crime scene analysis, David Sloane knows what it takes to win a case or have it thrown out. The sooner you contact Law Offices of David Sloane, PLLC, the better your chances of a more favorable outcome in court.
Schedule a time to speak with Law Offices of David Sloane, PLLC more about your case. Call (817) 810-0088 or submit your information in the online contact form. David Sloane defends those accused of marijuana crimes in counties across Texas such as Tarrant County, Dallas County, Dallam County, Sherman County and Moore County.
- Texas’ DWI Laws
- Can You Get a DWI from Marijuana?
- Penalties for Marijuana DWI in Texas
- Possession of Marijuana
- Marijuana and Chemical Test
- How to Test for Marijuana DUI?
- Additional Resources
Texas’ DWI Laws
It’s a common misconception DWI is only related to alcohol. According to the Texas Penal Code, DWI is the operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated in a public place. To meet the legal definition of intoxicated, you must not have the normal use of your mental or physical faculties because of a controlled substance, other drug or alcohol.
When a law enforcement officer suspects you are driving under the influence, they will ask you to submit to field sobriety test or chemical testing. You have the right to refuse these tests, but refusing a chemical will result in a license suspension for up to 180 days. Although refusing comes with penalties, it may be your best option.
You will still be arrested for the DWI if law enforcement has probable cause, but prosecutors will not have concrete scientific evidence proving you committed the offense. It’s possible your charges could be reduced or dropped because of insufficient evidence.
Can You Get a DWI from Marijuana?
In Texas, driving under the influence of alcoholic beverages is obviously illegal as it is across the nation. What you might not know is the law also states you could be charged with DWI if you had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more or if your mental and physical faculties were impaired to the point it was dangerous to drive. That means you don’t need to fail field sobriety or chemical tests to be charged and arrested for DWI.
If the officer has reasonable suspicion that you are under the influence of a drug like marijuana, they can arrest you on the grounds that your mental and physical faculties are impaired beyond the ability to drive. Evidence of impairment the officer may use to arrest you can include a DWI test refusal, slurred speech, unusual behavior, and reckless or careless driving. That is why if you’ve been pulled over and have consumed marijuana it’s important you get in contact with an attorney. Texas law does give you the ability to contact your legal counsel even during a traffic stop so you can have the best guidance on handling the situation.
Penalties for Marijuana DWI in Texas
DWI involving marijuana will be charged the same as if you were caught driving while intoxicated by alcohol. The extent of the penalties will depend on previous convictions and whether any aggravated factors were present.
Penalties based on previous criminal history are listed in the table below.
|Conviction||Charge||Maximum Fine||Incarceration||License Suspension|
|First offense||Class B misdemeanor||$2,000||Up to 180 days in jail||Up to a year|
|Second offense||Class A misdemeanor||$4,000||Up to 12 months in jail||Up to two years|
|Third or subsequent offense||Third-degree felony||$10,000||2 to 10 years in prison||Up to two years|
Time behind bars, hefty fines and a suspended license are not the only penalties you will have to deal with if convicted of DWI in Texas. A judge may order you to complete community service hours and pay a surcharge of up to $2,000 for three years.
If a child was present during the offense, you will be charged with a state jail felony regardless if it was your first DWI offense. A state jail felony is punishable by up to two years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
Possession of Marijuana
When a DWI involves marijuana, it’s common for possession charges to be filed as well. Texas remains harsh when it comes to penalties for possession of marijuana. If you are facing charges for both marijuana possession and DWI, contact Law Offices of David Sloane, PLLC immediately.
Possession of marijuana is charged based on the amount found in your possession. According to the Texas Controlled Substance Act, you could face the following penalties for possession.
- 2 oz. or less: Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine up to $2,000.
- More than 2 oz. but less than 4 oz.: Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine up to $4,000.
- More than 4 oz. but less than 5lbs.: State jail felony punishable by up to two years in jail and a fine up to $10,000.
Visit our page on marijuana possession to learn more about the offense.
Marijuana and Chemical Tests
A standard procedure for a DWI involving alcohol is a breathalyzer test. This chemical test is used to determine the amount of alcohol in a driver’s system. When a driver is over a certain limit, they will be arrested for driving while intoxicated.
When it comes to a DWI involving marijuana, law enforcement cannot use a breathalyzer test to determine the amount of marijuana in a driver’s system. Instead, they will have to resort to blood and urine samples. Both chemical tests can determine the level of marijuana in a driver’s system, but with a catch.
If you submit to chemical testing, marijuana you smoked weeks ago may come up in the test. Neither urine nor blood samples can determine if a driver was under the influence of marijuana during the alleged offense. This will make it tough for prosecutors to prove you were actually intoxicated while driving.
How to Test for Marijuana DUI?
DWI testing can get a little more complicated when it involves cannabis. That is because law enforcement uses breath analysis, blood analysis, or urinalysis to test your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels. These types of tests determine how much alcohol is concentrated in your blood by number of grams of alcohol per:
- 67 milliliters of urine;
- 210 liters of breath; or
- 100 milliliters of blood
What’s unfortunate about these types of tests is that they are limited in what they can detect. Marijuana is not easily detected on a breathalyzer. In fact, if law enforcement is suspicious, you’re under the influence of marijuana they will not use a breathalyzer. They may instead ask you to undergo a blood draw or a urine test. Both tests can identify metabolites from certain drugs, which is how law enforcement can determine you’re under the influence of a controlled substance. However, the issue with these tests is that some substances metabolites will remain in a person’s system for days, weeks, or sometimes months.
THC, which is found in marijuana, is rapidly broken down and turns into metabolites. There are 80 different metabolites that are formed from THC and can stay within the body’s fat for a long period of time. The body does gradually eliminate the metabolites over time, but the more you use marijuana the longer the metabolites will stay within your system. For instance, if you’re an daily marijuana user, then it could take up to 30-60 days for the metabolites to completely leave your system so that your blood/urine test comes up clean.
Additional Resources for Marijuana DWI
Intoxication Offense | Texas Penal Code – Follow the link to read the chapter of the Texas Penal Code governing DWI. You can read the legal definition of intoxicated and learn about related offenses such as intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault.
Texas Controlled Substance Act – Follow the link to read the complete text of the Texas Controlled Substance Act. You can read about possession of marijuana, find out which drug falls into what schedule and learn about other drug crimes.
Marijuana DWI Lawyer in Texas
Were you arrested for suspicion of intoxicated driving? Are you being charged with possession along with DWI? If so, contact Law Offices of David Sloane, PLLC immediately. A DWI conviction can impact your life long after your time has been served and fines have been paid.
David Sloane is a well-known and respected defense attorney throughout North-Central Texas. Exercise your right to legal counsel and contact Law Offices of David Sloane, PLLC today. Call (817) 810-0088 to schedule your free consultation. Law Offices of David Sloane, PLLC defend those accused of marijuana crimes in counties across north and central Texas including Tarrant County, Dallas County, Hudspeth County, Hartley County and Hall County.