Driving and Drugs in Texas

By Brock Benjamin
Founding Attorney

Q: Can I be charged with DWI if I didn’t drink any alcohol?

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “driving while intoxicated”? For many people, driving while intoxicated—or “DWI”, for short– is synonymous with drunk driving and measured by tests of one’s blood alcohol concentration (or “BAC”). But in Texas, DWI goes beyond the bottle. You can be charged with DWI in Texas if you lack the normal use of your mental or physical faculties after ingesting drugs as well. This will be supporte by the use of a DRE (Drug Recognition Expert).

DWI penalties in Texas 

There are penalties, collateral consequences, and sometimes elevated penalties, when convicted of DWI. 

Common penalties for DWI convictions in Texas include fines, license suspension or revocation, community service, education and intervention programs, and installation of ignition interlock devices. 

Potential DWI collateral consequences – which are other onerous penalties and/or “punishments” – can include increased car insurance premiums, ineligibility to work as a commercial driver, interlock license requirements and damage to your reputation. Losing custody of your children could be another collateral consequence if you happen to be in a custody fight. The list goes on. 

In addition to the more common penalties and collateral consequences, there are harsher sentences in certain situations. 

Elevated penalties for a DWI conviction will be imposed if: 

  • there’s a prior DWI conviction, this can include time in jail as a requirement.
  • another traffic violation was committed during the incident
  • there’s a minor passenger under the age of 15 in the car at the time
  • the accident injured or killed someone. 

A Longview woman was reportedly charged with “driving while intoxicated with a child under age 15 and abandon endanger child criminal negligence” after public safety troopers noticed her young children standing outside her car, next to the interstate. The mother allegedly “admitted to using PCP, Xanax and lithium”. Her children were reportedly removed from her custody at the scene.

If you have been charged with DWI or with a drug-related offense, the criminal defense attorneys at Benjamin Law Firm can help you. Contact us today for a consultation. 

From our office in El Paso, we defend clients against a wide range of state and federal criminal statutes in multiple jurisdictions throughout Texas and New Mexico. No matter what charges you may be facing, we will always treat you with dignity and respect. 

About the Author
Brock Benjamin is board-certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.  His practice is primarily state and federal criminal law and appeals.Brock 

Posted in: Criminal Defense