What are the penalties for drugged driving in Texas?

For decades, law enforcement and public safety experts have worked to reduce the number of drunk drivers on Texas roads. Yet, one aspect of driving under the influence doesn’t get as much attention: drivers who operate a vehicle while high on drugs.

Driving while under the influence of drugs

When law enforcement stops a driver under the suspicion they may be under the influence, the driver may end up facing DWI (driving while intoxicated) charges even if they are high on drugs. The penalties for drugged driving are the same as for drunk driving in Texas.

For a first offense of drugged driving in Texas, drivers face:

  • Up to a $4,000 fine
  • Spending three mandatory days in jail when convicted (up to 180 days in jail depending on the circumstances)
  • Losing their driver’s license for a year

For a second offense of drugged driving, Texas drivers can face:

  • Up to a $4,000 fine
  • Spending one month to a year in jail when convicted
  • Losing their driver’s license for two years

The difficulties of charging a driver who is high

However, it’s not always easy to charge a driver with drugged driving if they haven’t consumed alcohol too. There is no fixed level of drugs drivers must have in their system to face charges of drugged driving. Law enforcement must decide to charge a driver with drugged driving on a case-by-case basis.

Plus, law enforcement must have drivers take a blood test to determine if drugs were in their system. And even if drugs are present in a driver’s blood, that doesn’t necessarily mean the driver was impaired.

Because of the complexities of detecting drugged driving, if you are facing a DWI for drug use, you should consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. A criminal defense attorney can review your case and see if the police evidence is strong enough to warrant a conviction.