When you hear about someone being charged with driving under the influence, the common assumption is that alcohol was involved. In Texas, however, you can be penalized differently for driving under the influence of drugs (DUID for short). Here are four key things you need to know about state DUID laws, which can impact the rest of your life.
There Is No Legal Limit
Unlike alcohol consumption, there is no legal limit, so you could be charged with DUID for having any level of controlled substances in your bloodstream. That includes anywhere from over-the-counter and prescription medication to marijuana metabolites and harder drugs.
You Can Be Charged Even If You Aren’t Impaired
Whether you were actually impaired or not is irrelevant. Texas has a “Zero Tolerance” policy that makes it illegal to drive if you have a detectable amount of a controlled substance in your system. Since some types of drugs can leave trace elements in your system days after use, a completely sober person can technically be charged with DUID.
Imagine that you’re visiting Texas from California, Colorado, or another state that permits the use of medical marijuana. If you’re pulled over and metabolites from legally prescribed marijuana are detected in your system, you could go to jail.
DUID Conviction Penalties Are Harsh
Even if you have never been in trouble with the law before, a DUID conviction can potentially result in up to 180 days in jail and up to a $2000 fine. In addition, your license could be suspended for a year, making it difficult for you to run errands or go to work or school. The penalties increase with each repeat conviction: hours in jail could potentially turn into years in prison, and the basic $2000 fine can go up to $10,000.
Texas Has an Implied Consent Law
Texas law states that anyone driving in Texas is considered to have given consent to have a breath, blood, urine, or chemical test administered in order to determine if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you refuse to submit to a chemical test, your driver’s license can be revoked for up to 10 years, depending on your prior driving history. You may even be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in your car.
If you have been arrested for violating the Texas DUID statute, contact Bobby Barina Law right away. We understand that loss of your driver’s license and a conviction on your record can have disastrous consequences. We will fight to get the charges dropped or, at the very least, limit the severity of their impact. To schedule a consultation, call (254) 523-4446.