With laws and policies changing seemingly daily, many people are asking us “Can you get a DWI for weed in Texas?” The answer is simple: Yes, you can. In fact, penalties for driving while under the influence of marijuana can run pretty steep in the state of Texas. You could even face up to 10 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
Recently, Texas has started to loosen up the restrictions for medical marijuana usage and marijuana usage, in general, is in the process of being decriminalized (to an extent). However, none of these efforts include operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of weed. There is no legal limit for driving high — any level of marijuana intoxication can land you a DWI — and there is nothing simple about facing these complex charges.
Let’s break down marijuana DWIs in Texas and your options should you find yourself facing these charges.
Why can you get a DWI for weed in Texas?
Marijuana is still considered an illegal drug, and if you’re caught driving while under the influence of it, you will be arrested and charged with a DWI. This typically includes any amount of marijuana.
When the police pull you over, the officer(s) will search for any probable cause that can lead to evidence of impairment, including behaviors, smells, and even objects like lighters, pipes, and residue. Evidence of impairment can be gathered through blood testing, eye exams, chemical tests, and field sobriety tests.
If you are arrested and charged with a DWI, you will be facing the same situation you would face if you were charged with a DWI by way of alcohol. This means that if you have a previous DWI on your record from alcohol, a DWI from weed will be considered a 2nd offense DWI. In this case, your penalties will be harsher if convicted.
Keep Learning: Is weed legal in Houston?
What are the penalties for a weed DWI?
Again, if you’re caught with weed while driving high and charged with a DWI, you will be charged exactly as you would be if you were accused of an alcohol-related DWI. Here’s a breakdown of the penalties you might be facing if convicted:
Jail time: 3 – 180 days
Fines: Up to $2,000
Driver’s License suspension: Up to 1 year
Jail time: 30 days (minimum) – 1 year (maximum)
Fine: $2,000 – $4,000
Driver’s License suspension: Up to 2 years
Jail time: 2 – 10 years
Fines: Up to $10,000
License suspension: 2 years + mandatory ignition interlock installation
On top of the typical DWI penalties, you could also face additional penalties associated with drug possession, as well as community service, drug rehab, and more.
Why can you be arrested for DWI if you’re high on marijuana?
Aside from marijuana not yet being legalized in Texas, there are a variety of other “impairment” factors the court uses to justify charging a person with a DWI for weed (such as disorientation, paranoia, and drowsiness). Even in places where people are legally allowed to smoke weed, they are still not allowed to be under the influence of weed and operate a vehicle.
What should you do if you’re arrested for a weed DWI?
If you’re arrested and charged with a DWI for being under the influence of marijuana, our first advice is to treat it just like any other DWI (because that’s exactly what it is). Do not take the charge lightly, and do not write it off as “not a big deal.”
A DWI for weed can negatively impact your future employment, living, and financial prospects, so it’s important to know what to do and how to beat a DWI in Texas. If you’re caught with weed while operating a vehicle, here are a few good tips to keep in mind:
Invest in an experienced lawyer-scientist to fight your charges.
Identifying a meaningful presence of THC in a suspect’s body is a complex art that most police labs still can’t get right. A lawyer-scientist will understand the nuances associated with a test for marijuana impairment and can use that as a possible defense in court. A Board Certified defense lawyer can also bring up potential issues with the impairment evaluation process and discredit the officers involved.
Make sure you understand everything you’re getting yourself into.
Even if a guilty plea comes with no jail time and only a short period of license suspension, this may not be in your best interest. This charge will remain on your record, and you will not have the opportunity to seal it from public view. This is why it can pay off in dividends to work with an attorney who knows how to beat a DWI in Texas and is capable of taking your case to court and fighting your charges.
Do not enter a Not Guilty plea just because you think a conviction is inevitable.
Just as there are many nuances associated with testing for marijuana and evidence of impairment, there are many nuances associated with DWIs as a whole. There are many opportunities a skilled lawyer can piggyback off of and use to create holes in the prosecutor’s case — including issues with reasonable suspicion, accurate reporting of the event, and more.
Charge with a DWI for weed? Contact Thiessen Law Firm today.
At Thiessen Law Firm, we’ve helped many Texans successfully fight marijuana possession charges and DWI charges, and we’d love to help you, too. With over a hundred Not Guilty verdicts and thousands of dismissals on our record, we know what it takes to get your record cleared.
Give us a call or fill out our online form to start fighting today.
More Helpful Articles by Thiessen Law Firm:
- How to Beat a Deadly Conduct Charge
- Reasonable Suspicion Examples
- Possession of Marijuana in Texas
- Can You Drive with Prescription Drugs?
- Can You Be a Teacher with a DWI?