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Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a dangerous risk to you and others, so laws are on the books against this conduct for the protection of society. In Texas, there are statutes that make what is colloquially referred to as “drunk driving” AND “driving while high” a crime. The charge of driving while intoxicated (DWI) is levied when alcohol and/or drug use (or a combination of the two) is the cause of impairment.

Texas law defines intoxication as “not having the normal use of one’s 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.” Law enforcement officers use various field sobriety tests and chemical tests (i.e., blood tests or breath tests) to determine whether an impaired individual was driving while intoxicated. Driving while specifically under the influence of drugs is a crime, whether those drugs are illicit “street” drugs or prescription drugs. A driver can be charged with a DWI for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated be it from drugs, alcohol, or a combination of both.  Some people may not realize that they may be charged with DWI even if they are taking prescribed medication – in this instance, the State may have to prove that the amount of drugs in one’s system was outside the therapeutic range in order to be deemed intoxication.

So, which drugs are most associated with drug-related driving arrests? DWI where drugs are the source of intoxication laws in Texas applies to a wide range of substances that can cause intoxication. The law applies to “a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body.” Some common prescription drugs related to “drugged” driving cases in Texas may include Xanax, Vicodin, Ambien, and more. Common non-prescription illicit drugs in such cases include marijuana / cannabis, cocaine, methamphetamines, and many others. In addition to these drugs, it is also possible to be charged with a DWI in Texas if an individual is intoxicated—has lost one’s normal use of his or her mental or physical faculties—from the use of over-the-counter medications such as cold and cough medicines or allergy medicines if the amount in one’s system is outside of the therapeutic range.

The criminal and/or administrative penalties for DWI charges that lead to convictions in Texas may be significant and severe. The penalties if convicted of DWI by drugs are the same as those for alcohol charges in Texas. Charges levied against someone based on the use of over-the-counter drugs while operating a motor vehicle may be the same as those based on other drugs. Immediately seeking legal counsel from an experienced attorney if you are arrested and charged with DWI is the best first step to take in trying to avoid a conviction for DWI, because the long-term consequences of a DWI conviction will likely have a serious impact on your future.


If you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with driving under the influence of drugs in Texas, you should consider securing competent legal representation from Jarvis, Garcia, & Erskine Law, an experienced team of legal professionals. They are available to help you with your case in Travis County and throughout the Austin, Texas area. If you are looking for legal guidance, don’t hesitate to contact Jarvis, Garcia, & Erskine Law online or by phone at 512-549-6976 at any time. The qualified attorneys will be able to answer all your questions and assist you with all your legal needs.