Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a crime that is usually connected to a person’s alcohol consumption, but it is important to keep in mind that people can face DWI charges for driving under the influence of certain drugs or controlled substances. In many cases, the drug involved is marijuana.
Many drivers are charged with DWI relating to marijuana after routine traffic stops, and the arrests typically involve marijuana possession charges as well. Alleged offenders often face a multitude of possible penalties if convicted for the multiple charges they now face.
Marijuana and DWI Defense Lawyer in Plano, Allen, Frisco, and McKinney, TX
If you or your loved one was arrested for a DWI involving marijuana in the greater Plano area, you are going to want to be sure that you do not wait to seek legal representation. It is going to be important to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer working on your cases soon as possible.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy will be committed to helping you achieve the most favorable possible outcome to your case. Call (469) 304-3422 or contact us online to take advantage of a free consultation.
Marijuana DWI Charges in Collin County
Texas Penal Code § 49.04 establishes that a person commits DWI if they are intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place. Texas Penal Code § 49.01(2) defines intoxicated as meaning having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more or “not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body.”
DWI is a Class B misdemeanor. Keep in mind that a person charged with a marijuana DWI while transporting a passenger who is younger than 15 years of age can be charged with DWI with child passenger, a state jail felony.
In most cases, an alleged offender suspected of a marijuana DWI will be asked to submit to chemical testing, which is often a urine test. Blood tests may be ordered in some cases. The same refusal penalties applicable to refusals to submit to breath testing in alcohol-related DWI cases also pertain to refusal to submit to drug testing.
Marijuana DWI Penalties in Texas
If a marijuana DWI is your first offense, it is a Class B misdemeanor. Convictions are punishable by fines of up to $2,000 and up to 180 days in jail. All prior DWI convictions can and will be used against you. A second DWI becomes a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $4,000 and up to one year in jail.
When a marijuana DWI represents your third or subsequent DWI offense, you can face third-degree felony charges. Convictions are punishable by fines of up to $10,000 and up to 10 years in prison.
If you have been charged with marijuana possession in connection to a marijuana DWI, then penalties for a marijuana possession conviction will depend on the amount of marijuana you allegedly possessed. The penalties for marijuana possession in Texas are as follows:
- 2 Ounces or Less — Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.
- 2 Ounces or More but Less Than 4 Ounces —Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to$4,000.
- 5 Pounds or Less but More Than 4 Ounces — Third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
- 2,000 Pounds or Less But More than 50 Pounds — Second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
- 2,000 Pounds or More — First-degree felony punishable by up to 99 years or life in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.
Marijuana DWI Defenses in Plano
A person’s alleged use of marijuana can be very difficult to directly tie to intoxication, and prosecutors in these cases will often rely on the testimony of drug recognition experts (DREs), which are law enforcement officers trained to supposedly identify signs of drug impairment. The DRE evaluation process is itself flawed and a criminal defense attorney will know how to attack some of the most common conclusions DREs draw in these cases.
The time that you actually consumed marijuana can be enormously important in many of these cases, as some alleged offenders may have been arrested long after the effects of the drugs have already worn off. You should always exercise your right to remain silent when police officers are asking specific questions about your marijuana use.
Plano Marijuana and DWI Resources
Marijuana | DEA — View the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)website page dedicated to marijuana. Learn more about what marijuana is, common street names, and how it is used. Also, learn about effects on the body and download a fact sheet.
Does marijuana use affect driving? | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) — View this NIDA website page discussing the effects of marijuana on driving. The article claims marijuana is the illicit drug most frequently found in the blood of drivers who have been involved in vehicle crashes. While several meta-analyses of multiple studies found that the risk of being involved in a crash significantly increased after marijuana use,a large case-control study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found no significant increased crash risk attributable to cannabis.
Find A Collin County Marijuana and DWI Attorney | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy
Were you or your loved one arrested for an alleged DWI involving marijuana in Plano or a surrounding area of Collin County? Make sure you contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy.
Our firm understands the many flaws inherent in marijuana DWI cases and can fight to protect your rights. We will examine your case when you call (469) 304-3422 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.
Yes, marijuana remains illegal in Texas, although a law legalizing hemp in 2019 led to marijuana prosecutions in Texas plummeting by more than half in the six months after the law was enacted. While many police departments lack the equipment needed to determine the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content in alleged marijuana to distinguish it from hemp, it remains likely that law enforcement will continue to arrest individuals for alleged marijuana possession offenses.
The possible disciplinary measures of a court in a marijuana case will depend on multiple factors, largely the amount of marijuana that was allegedly possessed. A person’s prior criminal record could also impact penalties in marijuana cases. In general, the most common kinds of penalties are usually fines and imprisonment, but additional penalties could include driver’s license suspensions and other punishments.
Police officers can arrest individuals who they believe were in knowing possession of marijuana, and possession may be actual or constructive. Actual possession is when marijuana is found on the person of an individual, whether it is in their pocket or their hands. Constructive possession means that a person could be accused of possession when marijuana is found in an area accessible to multiple people.
The record of the arrest could be public and be available to many people who perform background checks. While an arrest is not the same as a conviction, it can still appear on a criminal record and have possible negative complications for employment applications or college-related efforts.
Many marijuana cases are thrown out when police officers violate the rights of alleged offenders in their encounters with them. An unlawful search and seizure is one of the most common defenses against any drug charge because when police seize evidence unlawfully, it is prohibited from being used as evidence by a prosecutor and they are subsequently left without anything to pursue a case with.
A lawyer is immediately going to be able to conduct their own investigation into the arrest and determine the strongest possible defenses in your case. The attorney will know what kinds of evidence to seek out and how to use certain elements to your advantage. When you have a lawyer, they will also be more comfortable negotiating with a prosecutor to achieve a reduction in or dismissal of criminal charges.
A prosecutor must prove your guilt for any marijuana crime beyond a reasonable doubt, which is an exceptionally high bar to satisfy. You can achieve a not guilty verdict by simply giving a jury enough reason to doubt any element of a prosecutor’s case. An acquittal can be achieved through a dedicated effort to attack every element of the case against you.
Community service is one of the most common kinds of punishments for alleged offenders instead of prison sentences. It is also possible that a person could be sentenced to a term of probation in which they have to check in regularly with a probation officer. Court-ordered participation in a drug treatment program could also be possible in some cases.
Your employment situation will depend on how aggressively your employer enforces drug convictions. Some employers may have no tolerance for these kinds of issues and could terminate you just for an arrest, but other employers may not conduct any kind of background check needed to uncover the violation.
The answer will again depend on the school, as some colleges vigorously enforce their codes of conduct while others are far more lenient. Suspensions and expulsions are possible in some cases.
It may. Landlords run background checks on most prospective tenants in Texas, and a marijuana conviction could indeed be used as a reason to deny a person the opportunity to rent an apartment.