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Drug-Impaired Driving DWI Defense

In Texas, DWI does not apply only to driving while intoxicated by alcohol. A person suspected of driving while intoxicated by drugs (DWID) faces the same serious consequences as someone suspected of drunk driving.

Under the Texas Penal Code, a person commits the offense of DWI if the person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place. Sec. 49.04. “Intoxicated” means not having normal use of mental or physical faculties because alcohol, a drug, a dangerous drug, a controlled substance, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance has been introduced into the body. Sec. 49.01.

Prescription medications could be included in the above definition of “intoxicated,” along with alcohol, illegal drugs, controlled substances and over-the-counter medications. However, it is important to remember that being arrested and charged with DWID does not necessarily mean that you will be convicted.

If you have been charged with DWID in Texas, your best course of action is to consult with an experienced Dallas DWI defense attorney as soon as possible. When you work with Kraft & Associates, P.C., our knowledgeable and aggressive defense attorneys can help you navigate the complex criminal law procedure and fight hard to pursue the best possible outcome in your case.

Contact us now to find out how we can help.

No Way to Measure Impairment in DWID Cases

Prosecuting DWID cases can be difficult for law enforcement because of a lack of definitive proof of impairment. All 50 states have passed legislation setting the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) at 0.08 percent. Individuals suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol are subjected to breath or blood alcohol testing to determine BAC. For suspicion of drug impairment, it is not that simple.

Different drugs affect different people in different ways and remain in the bloodstream for varying lengths of time. For example, THC (the psychoactive substance contained in marijuana) is detectable in the urine for weeks after use, and there is no way to establish impairment at any given time. Cocaine is generally present in the body for a day or two after use.

In a written report to Congress, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) concluded that current knowledge about drugs other than alcohol is not sufficient to identify dosage limits related to elevated crash risk. As a result, police officers use field sobriety testing and blood or urine chemical testing in an attempt to establish that an individual was under the influence of drugs while driving.

Potential Defenses against DWID Charges

Our knowledgeable legal team is dedicated to fighting for your rights and obtaining the best possible outcome in your case. Raising the following issues are some possible ways our DWID defense attorney can help.

Did police have reasonable suspicion to stop you in the first place and probable cause to arrest you?

Under the protections provided by the 4th Amendment to the Constitution, an officer of the law must have reasonable suspicion to pull you over and probable cause to arrest you for DWID. Our aggressive criminal defense team can thoroughly investigate your arrest and all the circumstances in your case.

If you were pulled over or arrested unlawfully, our lawyers can file a motion with the court to have all evidence that was seized after you were detained ruled inadmissible. If that occurs, your case could be dismissed.

Was there a reasonable explanation for poor performance in field sobriety testing?

Completely sober individuals might have difficulty performing the roadside sobriety tests administered by police officers. In the one-leg stand, for example, the suspect is required to stand on one leg for 30 seconds with the other foot raised 6 inches, without swaying, hopping or using the arms for balance.

Several factors could affect the results of this test. Some people have poor balance to begin with. Uneven ground surfaces, high-heeled shoes, weather conditions or nervousness caused by intimidation could significantly affect how a suspect performs.

We can look closely at the circumstances in your case for reasons other than impairment that could have affected your performance in roadside sobriety tests.

Was the chemical testing flawed?

Texas implied consent laws apply to drugs as well as alcohol. This means that you are legally required to submit to chemical testing (blood or urine) if you are arrested for DWID. If you refuse, you will have your driver’s license suspended automatically for at least 180 days whether or not you are convicted of DWID. Refusal to take the test can also be used as evidence against you in court.

Proper chain of custody must be maintained for a sample to have value as evidence in court. Police sometimes fail to handle the evidence according to strict procedures, and samples can be tainted by improper storage or contamination. Our attorneys can aggressively challenge any possibility of a flaw in your chemical testing.

If you have been charged with DWID, contact our firm today. We provide high-quality, aggressive, and cost-effective legal representation for individuals facing criminal charges such as drug-impaired driving.

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