Getting Pulled Over in Texas for Marijuana DWI
If someone in Fort Worth (Tarrant County) or the surrounding area is asked to pull over by law enforcement, and then is discovered to be under the influence, then they might have to subject themselves to a sobriety test. Driving a vehicle while intoxicated – either through drugs or alcohol – can lead to a DWI or DUI charge. Later, a conviction may ensue. In the state of Texas, this is also applicable to people charged with impairment under the influence of marijuana.
What Kinds of Penalties to Marijuana DWIs Come with?
More people than ever are positively testing for marijuana when driving a vehicle. Protocols are enforced to establish if someone should be charged with a marijuana DWI, but these protocols aren’t quite as definitive in comparison to the ones for alcohol DWIs. As such, it might be a charge against someone that is potentially unwarranted. Smart defense attorneys are capable of contesting these kinds of charges. It is imperative to know what kind of consequences come with a possible marijuana DWI charge. There are certain penalties that come with driving intoxicated, including the following:
- 3 to 180 days prison time, in addition to a maximum $2000 fine for the first offense.
- 1 to 12 months of prison time, as well as a maximum $4000 fine for a subsequent offense.
- 2 to 12 years prison time, as well as a maximum $10,000 fine for the third offense.
For the most part, a police officer has a right to administer tests for the sake of determining someone’s BAC (blood alcohol concentration). If the BAC is at least 0.08%, then that person will not only be driving unlawfully, but they will be doing so intoxicated. When marijuana is involved, THC gets measured. However, there are various problems that come with this kind of testing:
- There isn’t a universal breath test that is used to quantify THC levels. As such, urine or blood tests are necessary.
- If a positive test comes about, that doesn’t mean the individual used marijuana recently. That is because THC is capable of remaining in your blood for weeks.
- There isn’t a specific THC level that can establish how impaired somebody is.
What People in Law Enforcement Look for
Because of the inaccuracies that come with marijuana DWI tests, prosecutors must depend on a police officer’s word. Although law enforcement officials do not have extensive training on ways to identify marijuana impairment like they can with alcohol, they will be looking for certain things, such as the following:
- A heart rate increase.
- Delayed reactions.
- Dilated pupils.
- Bloodshot eyes.
Despite these factors, though, many cases and up getting thrown out. That’s because these types of symptoms match various other conditions, none of which have any involvement with impairment. Ultimately, many police officers aren’t able to properly establish if somebody is under a marijuana influence.