The term DWI, or “driving while intoxicated,” is typically associated with alcohol impairment.
However, DWI charges are not limited only to alcohol as a source of intoxication. Prescription drug DWIs are becoming more common in Texas, begging the question — can you get arrested for driving after taking medicine prescribed to you? Here’s what you need to know.
Were You Impaired?
Generally speaking, the degree of impairment is considered before its cause. Whether or not an officer can prove you were drinking after a traffic stop is irrelevant; if the officer believes you are impaired by any substance or otherwise unable to safely operate a vehicle, they have the right to make an arrest.
How Prescription Medication Impairment is Measured
Because a breathalyzer cannot test for the presence of drugs, the following tests are usually used to evaluate how intoxicated a driver is after a traffic stop:
Field Sobriety Testing
Field sobriety testing is one of the most commonly used tests to detect impaired driving by any substance. These tests are meant to assess balance, coordination, and the ability to follow instructions. If you do poorly on the tests, you are likely to be charged with a DWI.
Roadside sobriety evaluations are notoriously inaccurate though, and many people who aren’t under the influence of any substances fail. You are not legally required to submit to field sobriety tests and it’s usually in your best interest to decline.
When you’re stopped by a police officer, they’re constantly observing and evaluating your behavior for signs of impairment or criminal activity. If an officer observes slurred speech, marked drowsiness, bloodshot eyes, and other hallmarks of drug use, this can be enough to make an arrest.
After your arrest, you will likely be transported to the police station or a medical facility where you can submit to chemical testing, usually in the form of a blood draw. You can decline chemical testing as well, but this is usually not in your best interest. The result is an automatic license suspension and refusing a blood test may not look the best to a judge and jury.
Charged with Drugged Driving? Call a Lawyer Now
If you were arrested and charged for driving while intoxicated by prescription medications, it’s important that you reach out for legal advocacy as soon as possible. Your rights, reputation, and relationships are on the line. Protect your future with the help of Fort Bend DWI lawyer Anthony R. Segura. Call now for your consultation at 281.240.3941.