DWI and Drugs in Texas
If you are pulled over for a DWI in Texas while you are taking certain drugs, whether prescribed or not, and you think that a DWI attorney in Brazoria County can help you escape the consequences simply because you agreed to take a breath test and it showed zero percent alcohol, think again. The DWI statute was never intended to exclude performance-impairing drugs and the penalties for driving while intoxicated by drugs are just as severe as those for alcohol.
Texas DWI Drug Law
According to Texas Penal Code Title 10 Offices against public health, safety and morals, Chapter 49 Intoxication and alcoholic beverage offenses, intoxicated is defined as not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a drug, a controlled substance, a dangerous drug, any two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body; or a BAC of .08 or higher.
The role of the Brazoria County DWI lawyer is to establish a reasonable doubt that the driver was intoxicated. There is no per se intoxication of drugs. Unlike alcohol, drugs are not eliminated from the body in a linear fashion. The effect of a drug on an individuals mental or physical faculties is influenced by factors such as:
– Dosage – At therapeutic doses, a person does not, by definition, have their normal faculties because they are under its effects.
– Whether they are a chronic user of the drug
– The unique idiosyncrasies of the persons body
Moreover, while there have been thousands of studies on the effects of alcohol and impairment to drive, there is a paucity of data for the many drugs that are on the market. There is no way to definitively say that they have lost their mental and physical faculties.
Penalties for DWI Drugs
Brazoria County criminal lawyers often have to explain to their clients that the penalties for being convicted of DWI on drugs are exactly the same as for alcohol:
– Fines, court costs and legal fees
– Custodial sentence (even for a first offense)
– Community service
– DWI intervention and education programs
– Higher premiums for car insurance
Why You Should Consult A DWI Defense Lawyer in Brazoria County
This high-profile fatal DWI accident in Angleton illustrates the how a Brazoria County DWI lawyercan negotiate a more favorable result for the defendant while still obtaining justice for the decedents family.
A family of five was driving in a Toyota Camry northbound on Highway 288 when the father pulled over the car to get some snacks out of the trunk. While out of his car, he observed a Ford-150 truck veering across all lanes of traffic, alternating between going too slow and weaving around cars at 85+ miles per hour. The truck slammed into the rear of the family car, killing the teenage daughter and causing life-changing injuries to the mother, son and other daughter.
The 23-year-old male driver of the F-150 crawled out of the truck and walked over to the Camry. Bystanders noticed something off about him, appearing as if he was on something. He initially claimed that a car had hit him and pushed him into the Camry, but there was no damage to his vehicle. He then changed his story to say he was reaching for a CD.
The Crash Investigation
The police arranged for blood samples to be taken and the dash cam was turned on. The driver revealed he had taken Alprazolam and not also taken his regular Adderall, which had been prescribed for ADD. He was taken to the county jail and Mirandized. His blood contained 109 mg/l Alprazolam (the high end of the therapeutic range for someone with extreme anxiety or panic disorder) and a metabolite of marijuana.
He was indicted for/on one count of intoxication manslaughter and three counts of intoxication assault. A DWI attorney in Brazoria County will tell you that the statutory punishment for intoxication manslaughter, a second degree felony, in Texas is 2 to 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000 and a mandatory community service penalty of at least 240 but as much as 800 hours.
The defendants DWI lawyer asked for mercy because:
– The drug was prescribed and at a therapeutic dose (although there was no evidence to support this).
– He had not taken his ADD drug.
– He was just a kid, reaching for a CD
The Plea Negotiations
The prosecutors first plea offer was 15 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice with a deadly weapon finding on the intoxication manslaughter charge and 10 years probation to be served consecutively for the three intoxication assault charges.
Rejecting the prosecutions opening offer, the DWI attorney in Brazoria County requested a new offer, which was 10 years in prison with an affirmative finding on the deadly weapon; two counts of intoxication assault amended to add two charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon; a 10-year deferred adjudication community supervision which, if revoked, could mean 20 years in prison on top of the 10-year sentence for intoxication manslaughter.
This means that the defendant serves only 10 years in prison instead of 20, and if he stays clean once he is out of prison, he remains out on parole; if he reoffends, he gets locked up for the full 30 years for all four charges.
We are Brazoria County DWI lawyers serving the cities of Alvin, Angleton, Freeport, Richwood, Lake Jackson, Sandy Point, Brookside Village, Danbury, Clute, Oyster Creek and Sweeney, to name a few. We also serve the towns of Quintana and Holiday Lakes; the villages of Baileys Prairie, Iowa Crest and Jones Creek and unincorporated areas.