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  • DWI & Prescription Drugs in Texas

Prescription Drugs & DWI in North Texas

It is a common misconception that if an individual is charged with driving while intoxicated, it means that he or she was driving drunk or under the influence of alcohol. However, a driver may be charged with a DWI even if his or her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is below the legal limit. Under Texas law, one has committed a DWI if he or she is operating a motor vehicle, while intoxicated, in a public place.

So, if an individual is mentally impaired by the use of a prescription drug and is operating a motor vehicle in a public place, he or she is at risk for being charged with a DWI.

What Does “Intoxicated” Mean?

Under Texas law, an individual is driving while intoxicated if he or she does not have “the normal use of mental or physical faculties” and has consumed:
• Alcohol
• A controlled substance
• A drug
• A dangerous drug
• A combination of two or more of those substances

Why Prescription Drugs May Lead to DWI

Even if an individual has not consumed enough alcohol to violate the legal BAC limit, the combination of a prescription drug with alcohol may result in dangerous side effects.

Prescription drugs are accompanied by a warning label, which lists potential side effects including:
• Blurred vision
• Hallucinations
• Drowsiness
• Impaired judgment

These warning labels often advise against certain activities such as:
• Operating a vehicle
• Consuming alcohol
• Taking other medications

Based on potentially harmful side effects, ingesting a prescription drug alone can result in mental impairment. The potentially dangerous results that may arise from prescription drugs create an additional threat of harm caused by an individual who drives while under the influence of one.

No Defense if Entitled to Use

Although the Texas Penal Code has not specified the level of prescription drugs in one’s blood concentration that is sufficient to indicate mental impairment, it has addressed the issue of those who are entitled to use of prescription drugs. Under Texas law, an individual that is being prosecuted for a DWI may not assert the defense of being entitled to use the controlled substance or drug to challenge the DWI charge.

Additional Penalties for DWI with Prescription Drugs?

If an individual is being charged with a prescription drug-related DWI, he or she may also face the risk of being charged with illegal possession of a prescription drug or controlled substance.

Have You Been Charged with a Prescription Drug DWI?

A DWI is a serious offense that may negatively impact you in your social life, work life, and family life for years to come. With a prescription drug-related DWI you may face other consequences such as illegal possession charges or entry into a drug rehabilitation program. As the legislation surrounding prescription drug DWIs is not as clear as strictly alcohol-related DWIs, it is important that you seek a strong legal defense to guide you through the prosecution process. The attorneys at the Wilder Firm are highly experienced in DWI-related crimes and have the expertise needed to succeed in challenging DWI offenses. Contact the Wilder DWI Defense Firm today to schedule your free consultation.

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