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Intoxicated driving includes drugs, too

When it comes to DWI, you may think the law only applies to driving after drinking alcohol. While this does tend to be the focus, Texas law declares that intoxication actually covers all drugs and substances that alter your normal physical and mental abilities.

This means the police can arrest and charge you for driving while intoxicated even if you have not had a drop of alcohol. Use of drugs, including legal ones, is enough qualification. Knowing the law and how drugs can affect your driving may help you avoid legal trouble.

Impairment laws

Currently, Texas does not have set limits on how much of a drug you can have in your system besides alcohol, because there is no consensus over what levels are safe. On the one hand, it means that any amount that causes you to lose your normal faculties is sufficient for an arrest. It does not matter if you have a right to use the drug, such as prescription painkillers.

On the other hand, with no numerical standard to work with, it makes it harder for police to prove your impairment. Lab tests are one form of evidence, but these are complex and not absolute, and the demand for them is high. Tests do not exist for all drugs, either. 

Impairment signs

Drugs have a similar effect on your body as alcohol, so police officers will look for those signs to spot intoxicated driving:

  • Slower reaction time
  • Poor judgment and coordination
  • Aggression and recklessness
  • Drowsy driving
  • Lane weaving

If you have taken drugs, whether legally or illegally, it is best not to get behind the wheel, even if you feel fine. Symptoms may take time to appear, and symptoms can change from situation to situation, depending on other factors, such as if you also drank alcohol. If you must travel, use a designated driver or another form of transportation to avoid a DWI charge.

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