Houston Marijuana DWI Attorney
Fighting Charges of Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana
Often, when someone hears the term "DWI," they think of a driver operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol- what people think of as “drunk.” However, alcohol is not always the cause of impairment. In some arrests, if a person is caught driving with some cannabis product in their system, or even a prescription drug, they may be charged with Driving While Intoxicated just the same as if they were “drunk.” This is commonly referred to as “drugged driving.”
At Jim Medley Defense Lawyer, our Houston marijuana DWI lawyer has the experience and knowledge necessary to competently defend you throughout your case. Attorney Jim Medley is a former police officer who knows the techniques law enforcement officials are trained to use in these investigations. He also holds a masters degree in Forensic Toxicology and is a graduate of the National College for DUI Defense. Jim Medley has an in-depth understanding of the various processes involved in drug related DWI cases and is ready to develop a strong defense for you.
How Does Texas Define a Marijuana DWI?
Texas does not have a separate statute concerning marijuana DWI. The definition of the offense is defined in Texas Penal Code § 49.01. This law states that a person is considered intoxicated when they operate a vehicle while their normal faculties are impaired by the introduction of any drug or controlled substance. The defense of these charges involve unique forensic and legal issues that many average Houston marijuana DWI lawyers do not have extensive expertise in.
Does Texas Have a Legal Limit for Marijuana?
With an alcohol-related DWI, a person will face prosecution if their alcohol concentration was at or above the legal limit of .08. But a similar “legal limit” does not apply to marijuana or drug based DWIs. Texas does not have a specific per se limit for drug levels, and that is one of the things that makes these cases challenging.
When an officer arrests a driver on suspicion of DWI, they can request that the individual submits to a chemical test to determine whether they had drugs in their system. Although a chemical test can detect the presence of marijuana, that does not necessarily mean that the driver was intoxicated. In some types of tests, marijuana can be detected in a person's system days or weeks after they have consumed it- long after any effects have vanished.
Because the mere presence of marijuana/ drugs in someone's blood does not mean intoxication, law enforcement authorities may call in a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) to determine whether the driver was driving while intoxicated. A DRE will conduct a battery of tests to supplement the results of a chemical analysis. Thus, even though the State does not have a legal limit for marijuana, a person may still be prosecuted under DWI laws because of the opinion of a DRE officer.
What Are The Penalties For Marijuana DWI Conviction?
Penalties for a Marijuana DWI can be very similar to other Texas DWIs. Whether you are intoxicated by alcohol, marijuana, prescription drug or illegal drug - the penalties may be generally the same. If you have a former DWI conviction, it will be considered as a prior for any new DWI conviction.
First, second, and third & subsequent offenses have varying incarceration times, fine payments, and license suspension time frames. Some jurisdictions in Texas, including Houston, do not prosecute low-level marijuana possession. However, they are using the possession to prosecute those who are driving while intoxicated (DWI) with marijuana.
Defense for Marijuana DWI Cases in Texas
At Jim Medley Defense Lawyer, our Houston marijuana DWI attorney recognizes how complicated these cases can be. That is why we take the time to examine every detail surrounding the initial stop, the tests administered, and the arrest procedures. If any inconsistencies or procedural errors are found, we can exploit them out to weaken the case.