Over the past few decades, incidences of prescription drug abuse have skyrocketed. People are turning towards what would otherwise be legal substances to get their highs, often going to extremes to get the prescriptions. But whether or not that prescription is written to you, it is still illegal to get behind the wheel if you are impaired by drugs—any drugs.
Drugs, whether illegal substances like heroin or legal prescriptions including hydrocodone, can lead to impairment. Delayed reaction times, poor judgment, and low functioning motor skills experienced when under the influence of drugs can be disastrous when behind the wheel. Law enforcement has seen an uptick in driving while impaired by drugs and is struggling to find ways to combat it.
In Texas, driving under the influence of drugs is charged in the criminal courts as a DWI. There is no distinction under the law when it comes to driving while drunk or impaired by drugs. The difference between the two, however, lies in detection.
If you’re pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, you may be asked to submit to a breath test. The results of this test are what is most often used to determine if you are intoxicated. If your blood alcohol content is over .08%, you will likely face charges of DWI.
But signs of impairment including shakes, slurred speech, and difficulty walking aren’t always indicative of drinking alcohol. Sometimes these symptoms are related to drug use and proving that isn’t as simple as a quick breath test.
According to the Houston Chronicle, drug detection is one issue law enforcement is having with keeping drug impaired drivers off the road. Just how do you know someone is under the influence of drug and how can you prove it when it’s time to go to court?
Houston itself has over 100 “drug recognition experts” who will go to a scene and analyze a suspect, determining what they may be under the influence of. No refusal blood draws are another, albeit extreme and arguably unconstitutional, way for determining if drugs are in someone’s system.
Because many people are legitimately prescribed drugs for diseases and conditions, it’s difficult to know who is abusing them and who is simply taking them as directed by their physician. Furthermore, it would need to be blatantly obvious that the driver was so impaired due to the prescription drugs within their system for charges like this to stick.
If you are facing DWI charges for being under the influence of drugs, you need a defense attorney’s help. Depending on the facts of the case we may be able to challenge the prosecution’s charge that you were impaired at all.
A charge like this has the potential to change your life. Contact our attorneys for a free consultation on your case.