If you or a loved one has been charged with a DWI in Texas, the possibility of a looming drug test can seem like a cruel addition to all of the other complications resulting from a DWI charge, but should you be worried? Do they drug test in court for DWI?
The short answer is: maybe. There are many reasons why defendants would be drug tested during the DWI court process, but it isn’t a certainty. Keep reading to learn the ins and outs of why a court would drug test you when it is possible to be tested, and what the consequences might be for a failed test.
Facing DWI charges and worried about a drug test? This is a situation that you should be discussing with your lawyer. If you don’t have a lawyer and you’ve been charged with DWI in Texas, you need to get one before it’s too late.
Thiessen Law Firm has been making miracles happen for those accused of DWI for years. If you or a loved one is staring down a DWI case that you can’t afford to lose, call the winning DWI attorneys at Thiessen Law Firm today at (713) 864-9000.
Will I get drug tested at my first court date in Texas?
Do they drug test in court for DWI in Texas? Not always, and in fact, not usually. Pre-trial drug testing is not required according to Texas’ court drug testing policy but it may be requested by a judge under certain circumstances. Some reasons you might be drug tested in court for a DWI include:
- You have a criminal record. The judge may ask for a pretrial drug test if you have a significant criminal history, specifically if you have previous drug-related offenses on your record.
- The supposed DWI in question was drug-related. If there is evidence that you were under the influence of drugs during your DWI arrest, the court is much more likely to require a drug test pre-trial.
- There were drugs in your vehicle at the time of arrest. Even if you were not under the influence or the drugs were found not to be in your possession, if drugs are associated with the incident you may be drug tested.
- You refused a blood or breath test. If you refuse to take a blood or breath test the judge is much more likely to request a drug test.
Drug test results are often presented as evidence when they are relevant to the case and, because they can have a significant impact on a verdict either to the benefit of the prosecution or the defense, it is very important that you do not fail a drug test.
When can the police drug test you?
There are a few opportunities that the police will have to drug test you during the course of a DWI arrest and trial.
The first is during the traffic stop itself. If you are pulled over under suspicion of DWI and the arresting officers have any reason to believe that you are on drugs (low BAC reading on the breathalyzer, paraphernalia in the car, etc.), they may ask you to take a blood or urine test. Although the police cannot drug test you without your consent (because of Texas’ implied consent laws) you have consented by getting on the road.
Secondly, you may be required to take drug tests as a condition of your temporary release (AKA when you are out on bond and awaiting trial), but this is rare in most standard DWI cases and is much more likely to happen if you are charged with drug-related DWI or a felony DWI charge like intoxication manslaughter in Texas.
Thirdly, aside from arrest and trial, probation is the most likely place for required drug tests in the criminal justice system.
What happens if you fail a drug test on probation in Texas?
Probation officers in Texas have the ability to conduct random drug tests on any of the individuals under their supervision. This means that once you are on probation in Texas, you can be tested at any time.
What happens if you fail a court-ordered alcohol test? If you fail a drug test while on probation, the state may file a motion to revoke the grant of probation. If the state files a motion to revoke your probation, their intention will likely be to seek jail time. Some of the common consequences of failing a drug test while on probation include:
- Probation revocation. Because failing a drug test violates the conditions of your probation, it will likely lead the state to revoke it.
- Jail time. As previously stated, if your probation is revoked, it will likely be in order to serve the unmitigated jail time that was sought by the court initially.
- Additional fines and penalties. The failure of a drug test while on probation can require you to pay not only the original fines and penalties associated with your charge but also additional ones.
- Extended probation. If your probation is not revoked, it will likely be extended. Probation extensions often come with increasingly strict conditions and steeper consequences for slip-ups.
- Loss of driving privileges. Especially if you are on probation for DWI, a failure of a drug test will often cause the state to move to suspend or revoke your license.
Does Texas probation test for alcohol? It depends, but Texas has been known to administer EtG (ethyl glucuronide) tests to people on probation for offenses related to alcohol. EtG tests can detect alcohol in your system days after its consumption, but also have a host of problems, and produce false positives at a rate even higher than BAC tests.
Continue reading about modern problems with drug testing:
Worried about a DWI drug test in Houston? Make sure your lawyer is prepared to fight.
So, do they drug test in court for DWI? Sometimes, but generally only if your case involves drugs, special circumstances, or you are starting probation and your case has already been resolved. Although drug tests are not always requested during DWI trials, it is essential that you do not fail a drug test while under suspicion of a criminal charge, as it can severely damage your case and set your lawyer back irreparably.
DWI cases are high-stress, high-stakes events. If you want to make it through with your freedom — and without pulling out every hair on your head — it is essential that you hire a trustworthy, experienced DWI attorney to help you through the process.
Thiessen Law Firm has made our name on winning complex DWI cases and helping our clients out of tough situations. If you’re in a tough spot, call Thiessen Law Firm today at (713) 864-9000 or contact us online for a consultation.
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