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Prescription DWI

Most associate driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges with illicit substances or alcohol. What many don’t know is that you can be charged with DWI for simply driving while on your prescription, even if it’s legally prescribed by a physician. If a prescription drug impairs your driving, law enforcement retains the right to arrest you for “driving while intoxicated.”

It might seem ridiculous, but the reason officers can arrest you for DWI while on prescriptions is that some medications or over-the-counter medicine can inhibit your motor control, make you drowsy or even slow your reaction time. Since both your physical and mental faculties can be affected by these medications law enforcement can arrest you for “being under the influence.” If you or someone you know has been arrested for prescription DWI, then we suggest you hire a criminal defense attorney with a background in medicine.

Prescription DWI Attorney in Montgomery County, Texas

It might seem silly, but you can face criminal charges for driving after taking your prescriptions. If you have been arrested for a prescription related DWI, then we suggest you get in contact with the defense attorneys at Evans & Powell, PLLC. We have a thorough understanding of how some medications can mimic the effects of inebriation. Utilizing our knowledge, our defense team can fight for your rights and protect your freedom.

You can get in touch with the lawyers at Evans & Powell, PLLC by calling (713) 622 - 2000. From there, we can set up your first consultation free of charge. Our offices are in Conroe, but we practice throughout the greater Montgomery County area including Conroe, Willis and Magnolia.

Overview of Prescription Drug DWI in Texas

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Why Can I Get a DWI for Using my Prescription Drugs in Texas?

Since certain prescriptions and medications can have lingering side-effects it’s possible you could face criminal charges for using them before driving. In Texas, you can be charged with driving under the influence if you fulfill either of the following elements:

  • Operate a motor vehicle in a public place; and
  • Have a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher OR your mental and physical faculties were impaired by a controlled substance or alcohol

The term “controlled substance” normally is used in reference to illicit drugs, but it can also apply to prescription drugs. The Texas Controlled Substance Act lists multiple controlled substances that are lawfully allowed if a physician prescribes them. However, these substances can still could impair your motor functions and mental faculties to the point law enforcement may believe you’re under the influence.

Additionally, law enforcement typically uses chemical DWI testing to determine if a person is intoxicated. Often a police officer will ask you to undergo a blood draw if they suspect you’re under the influence of drugs because blood analysis is much more accurate at detecting than breath or urine analysis.

You might think that taking a prescription drug couldn’t affect your BAC, but unfortunately this isn’t always the case. Especially if you had one drink paired with your prescription before driving. Not to mention the possibility of outdated equipment or contaminated samples inducing a false positive. For these reasons, many lawyers would highly suggest you refuse chemical testing.

Field sobriety tests are another way for officers to test if a person is under the influence. Field sobriety results are vague and normally up to the officer’s discretion. Since prescription drugs can alter your mental and physical faculties slightly an officer may be under the impression you’ve been drinking and driving.

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Prescriptions Commonly Found in DWI Cases

Texans and visitors to Texas may use prescribed controlled substances for medicinal reasons. Many of these patients use these drugs everyday as prescribed by their doctor. However, some prescription drug effects may dramatically increase if alcohol consumption is involved. Other factors such as diet, hormone levels and other medications can lead to loss of motor control.

Listed below are some common prescription drugs that are found in DWI cases.

  • Valium
  • Soma
  • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
  • Dextromethorphan (DXM)
  • Vicodin
  • Xanax
  • Oxycontin
  • Stadol
  • Steroids
  • Tussin
  • Adderall
  • Codeine
  • Percocet
  • Ritalin

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Penalties for Prescription DWI in Texas

First Offense

  • Class B Misdemeanor, which is punishable by:
    • Fine of up to $2,000
    • Up to 180 days in county jail;
    • Up to 100 hours of community service;
    • License suspension for up to 12 months;
    • Required DWI Education Program; and
    • Yearly fee by the Department of Public Safety (DPS) of up to $2,000 for 3 years.

Second Offense

  • Class A Misdemeanor
    • Fine of up to $4,000
    • Up to 12 months in county jail;
    • Up to 200 hours of community service;
    • License suspension for up to 2 years;
    • Required DWI Education Program; and
    • Yearly fee by DPS of up to $2,000 for 3 years.

Third Offense

  • Third-Degree Felony
    • Fine of up to $10,000
    • Up to 10 years in prison;
    • Up to 200 hours of community service;
    • License suspension for up to 2 years;
    • Required DWI Education Program; and
    • Yearly fee by DPS of up to $2,000 for 3 years.

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Additional Resources

Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs – Visit an official resource site for parents and educators by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) also called DrugAbuse.Gov. Access the government site to find more information about prescription drugs, their potential for addiction Learn more about their side effects, health risks if used in excess, where they are on the DEA schedule and more.

Texas DWI Laws – Visit the official website of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to learn more about DWI legislation and consequences in Texas. Access the site learn the charge specifics of DWI, enhancements, aggravated DWI, license suspensions and possible admissible defenses in court.

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DWI Lawyer Explains How to Fight Prescription Drug DWI in Conroe, TX

If you or someone you know has been charged with DWI while using prescription drugs, it’s important you contact a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney. Presenting your legitimate prescription only will not hold up in court as a defense. You could still be convicted for DWI for using prescription drugs even if they’re prescribed.

Call Evans & Powell, PLLC today at (713) 622 - 2000 to fight these DWI charges. Our firm prides ourselves on formulating strong defenses for our clients. With out knowledge and experience, we will do whatever we can to fight for your rights Contact Evans & Powell, PLLC at (713) 622 - 2000 to speak to an attorney.

Evans & Powell, PLLC represents people accused of DWI throughout the Montgomery County area including Conroe, Willis, Magnolia and New Caney.

Evans & Powell, PLLC