In the state of Texas, DWIs are a serious matter no matter what the situation entails. When it comes to DWI cases, it is important to know that you can be charged If you are under the influence of substances other than alcohol. You can be charged with this offense while under the influence of controlled substances and medications as well—including cocaine. These types of DWIs are just as common as alcohol-related offenses. Under Texas law, these offenses can lead to serious penalties and punishments if convicted.
If you are in the Fort Worth area and you have recently been charged with a DWI with cocaine offense, Andrew Deegan DWI Attorney at Law can help you. We have dealt with DWI with cocaine cases before, and we know how to handle them. With our expertise, we can build a defense and fight for you in court. No matter what your situation may be, we want to help you with your case. A DWI with cocaine offense is a serious matter, and it will require the most qualified attorneys to fight against them.
What Does a DWI With Cocaine Mean?
In Texas, a DWI stands for driving while intoxicated. Under Texas Penal Code § 49.01(a), ‘intoxication’ is used to describe states in which you do not have normal control of mental or physical faculties after alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, or any combination of these substances is introduced into your body. So, under this definition, any DWI offense can be made to include a variety of substances other than alcohol, such as cocaine. Also, this may include prescriptions and other drugs that you are entitled to use.
Furthermore, a DWI offense is defined under Texas Penal Code § 49.04 as operating any type of vehicle in a public space while intoxicated. So, a DWI with cocaine is simply defined as driving under the influence of cocaine. Again, the drug needs to have impaired your ability to properly operate a vehicle, and with drugs, such as cocaine, this can mean to include sleepiness, drowsiness, and dizziness. With cocaine, symptoms may include agitation, a loss of coordination, and a decrease in motor functions necessary to operate a vehicle. These factors will affect your driving and present a danger to others while on the road. This is why it is just as serious as a DWI with alcohol.
When it comes to DWI with cocaine offenses, they are treated differently from DWIs with alcohol offenses. With alcohol, there is a specified blood alcohol concentration limit (0.08%), and it is illegal to operate or drive a vehicle with a BAC above this limit. For drugs, like cocaine, there is no specified limit or amount that is considered to be illegal while you are driving. In other words, an intoxicated state on cocaine may vary since it may affect everyone’s body differently. Once again, it must be shown that it has affected your mental or physical state and has impaired your ability to drive properly. If you are pulled over by the police because they suspect you are under the influence of alcohol; they may test for your BAC level. However, if you pass these tests, or if they turn out negative, the officer may believe that you are under the influence of something else such as a drug like cocaine. This is usually how this type of offense arises.
DWI with cocaine cases are more unique than a standard DWI. In order to be charged with this type of criminal offense in Texas, there are certain elements that must be present. This include:
- You were operating or in control of a vehicle,
- You were in a public space,
- You were intoxicated (mentally and physically impaired), and
- You were intoxicated due to cocaine use.
Of course, when it comes to cocaine use, there is no standard measuring test to determine intoxication as with alcohol. Because of this, it may be more difficult to be charged with this type of offense and to prove it in court. However, it has happened before. Usually, an officer may believe you are intoxicated due to your mental or physical state, and if you pass a BAC test, they may suspect drugs are in play. If you are convicted of this crime, then you may potentially face serious penalties and punishments as defined under Texas law.
Possible Penalties and Punishments for a DWI with Cocaine
Since a DWI with cocaine is similar to a standard DWI in Texas, the penalties and punishments are just as serious and could potentially impact your life in a major way. This type of criminal offense is considered to be a class B misdemeanor in the state of Texas. As such, you will face a minimum confinement period of 72 hours or 6 days in a state jail. Other possible punishments may include:
- Up to 180 days in state jail, and/or
- A maximum fine of $2,000.
If the circumstances of the case allow, the offense could also be charged as a class A misdemeanor. As such, the possible punishments can be made to include:
- Up to 365 days in state jail, and/or
- A maximum fine of $4,000.
It should be noted that with a DWI, the possible punishments you may receive will be determined by a couple of influencing factors. This can include any elevating circumstances of the DWI or the arrest like if there were any injuries or deaths involved or if you have a previous history of criminal activity if any. Another important factor that may enhance your punishments is whether or not there is actual cocaine within the vehicle or on your body. This could lead to another serious type of criminal offense. If the circumstances are significant enough, the offense can be elevated to a felony.
If convicted of a DWI with cocaine offense, you could potentially face major punishments. Not only may you face these sentences or fines, but your license could be revoked or suspended. This may occur if you refuse or fail to take a test after being arrested. A license suspension may last for up to 90 days if they do submit a test. However, if you still refuse to submit a sample, the suspension could potentially last up to 180 days. Because of this, this type of offense could affect your life in a significant way and it may stay on our driving record for years to come.
What Needs to Be Proven for This Type of Offense?
Due to the special circumstances around a DWI with cocaine, it may be a little tricky for prosecutors to prove. Unlike DWIs with alcohol, there is no set test or means through which an officer may test for cocaine in your body. Due to this issue, this type of offense may be difficult to prove with precision. However, this does not mean that you cannot be arrested and charged with this type of offense. A DWI with cocaine is still a serious crime in the state of Texas. There are still elements that can be proven in order to be convicted of the crime. In Texas, since this is still considered a regular DWI, the prosecutor would need to prove the following elements:
- You were driving or in control of some vehicle,
- You were in a public space, and
- You were intoxicated.
First of all, in order to even be charged with this offense, you need to have been the individual who operated and controlled the vehicle. Simply put, you need to have been the person who was driving. Also, as specified under Texas Penal Code § 49.04, you need to have been in a public space while driving. This can mean the streets, the highways, and many more places in which you may usually drive.
The final element is the most crucial to DWI offenses. Intoxication is the key element that needs to be proven. In order to be charged, you need to have been intoxicated while operating the vehicle. Again, as defined under Texas Penal Code § 49.01(a), ‘intoxication’ describes a state in which you do not have the normal use of mental or physical faculties due to the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, or any combination of these substances into your body. When it comes to cocaine, this is the only means through which an officer may measure your intoxication level since there is no set limit on cocaine in your body. In order to prove this element, an officer would have had to notice some erratic or abnormal driving behavior. Also, standard DWI tests would not indicate any cocaine use. A blood test could be used to detect cocaine; however, it is a specific type of test that usually is not utilized until after making an arrest. However, it may still find nothing. So, an officer would need to be sure about the driver being intoxicated before arresting him or her.
Overall, in order to prove intoxication, the prosecutor may have to rely on the individual’s behavior during the incident. If they are visibly impaired in some capacity then they may be considered to be intoxicated since to presents a danger on the roadways. However, if there are no visible signs of impairment and if the BAC tests do not detect anything, you may not be charged with a DWI at all. Once again, this is why DWIs with cocaine may be more difficult for prosecutors to prove. It is a very different situation from DWIs with alcohol. There would need to be visible impairment while the individual was driving. If these elements cannot be proven, then you may not be charged or convicted of this offense.
Are There Defenses for a DWI with Cocaine?
Like with any other type of criminal offense, if you are charged, you can present a defense to drop the charges in the court of law. Of course, when it comes to presenting a defense in court, having a qualified attorney will help since they are skilled in legal affairs and they understand the state’s laws. In its most simplistic sense, the defense is your argument and a presentation of facts that disprove the necessary elements of the offense. A good defense is one that can disprove the elements needed in order to be convicted of the crime.
Once again, the necessary elements for a DWI with cocaine offense include: you were the one driving, you were driving in a public space, and you were intoxicated with cocaine. If with the assistance of an attorney, you are able to disprove any of these elements, you may not be charged or convicted of this offense.
Officer Had No Reasonable Suspicion
When driving anywhere, an officer may ask you to pull over. According to state law, you must comply. However, when an officer does pull you over, they need to have a reason to do so. An officer cannot just make you pull over for no real reason at all as this is an abuse of your rights. If you get pulled over without a legitimate reason, but you still are charged with a DWI with cocaine, then you may fight against the charge. Of course, an officer may have a suspicion of cocaine use; however, it must be reasonable.
If you are obeying all traffic laws and driving in a safe manner, then there may be no legitimate reason for being pulled over. However, in the case that this situation does occur, and it is determined that you have traces of cocaine in your body, you may not be charged with a DWI with cocaine. First of all, there may not have been any level of impairment due to the substance. Also, the act of pulling the driver over without a legal reason is enough to drop the charges.
You Were Not Intoxicated
Intoxication is the crucial element in any type of DWI case. Once again, intoxication may describe a state in which you physical or mental faculties are impaired due to drug or alcohol use. In cases involving cocaine, this definition is important. Since there is no specified limit on the amount of cocaine that may be present in your bloodstream while driving, it all comes down to whether or not you were actually impaired. Impairment may be thought of as dizziness, sleepiness, drowsiness, agitation, a decrease in proper motor functions, and other characteristics that may affect your ability to properly operate a vehicle.
If there are no clear signs of intoxication or impairment, then you may not be charged or convicted of a DWI with cocaine. Even if there are traces of cocaine within your blood, this is not enough to be charged with this type of offense.
Similar and Related Offenses
Besides a DWI with cocaine, there may be other related and similar types of offenses that you may face as well depending on the circumstances of the case. In some cases, you may be charged with different offenses depending on the details of your case. Also, other charges may be added on top of a DWI with cocaine charge if the circumstances allow. Below are just some commonly related and similar types of offenses you may come across in your experience.
Possession of Cocaine
In Texas, it is illegal to possess any amount of cocaine as described under Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.115. This means that you intentionally, or knowingly, control or own any amount of cocaine. This type of offense can be charged alongside a DWI with cocaine if any amount of the drug is found to be in your possession while you are driving.
The possible punishments you may receive for this type of criminal offense may vary depending on the amount of cocaine you have in your possession. If you possess one (1) gram or less of cocaine, it is considered to be a state jail felony offense. With this, you could be sentenced to six (6) months up to two (2) years in prison. If you possess between one (1) and four (4) grams of cocaine, it is considered to be a third-degree felony. As such, you could receive between two (2) and ten (10) year in prison as well as a maximum $10,000 fine. If you possess between four (4) and 200 grams, it is a second-degree felony. If you possess between 200 and 400 grams, it is a first-degree felony. Lastly, if you own anything more than 400 grams in your possession, you may face between 10 and 99 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.
DWI with a Child Passenger
A DWI with a child passenger is exactly as its name suggests. Under Texas Penal Code § 49.045, if a child under the age of 15 years of age is present in the vehicle when you are driving while intoxicated, you may face this elevated DWI offense. This still applies to DWI with cocaine offenses. It is crucial to note that the child must be 15 years old or younger in order to be considered a ‘child’ in this context. This is an elevated offense since driving while intoxicated presents a dangerous situation for anyone else on the road. If there is a child passenger, then you are putting their life at risk.
This is considered to be a state jail felony offense in Texas. With this standing, the possible punishments include a minimum of 180 days to a maximum two (2) years sentence in a state jail facility. Also, this includes a penalty fine of up to $10,000. Your driver’s license will also be suspended for up to 180 days.
DWI Intoxication Assault
With any type of DWI offense, you are putting yourself and everyone else on the roads at risk of injury should you create an accident. When driving while intoxicated, it is common to cause injury and accidents. As described by Texas Penal Code Section 49.07, a DWI intoxicated assault charge arises if you operate a vehicle recklessly and negligently while intoxicated, and it results in the serious bodily injury of another person. In this case, that other person may be a child passenger if they are present during a collision. Once again, this can still apply to DWI with cocaine offenses. If you are impaired you present a risk to anyone on the road. The law describes a serious bodily injury as one that creates a major risk of death, causes permanent disfiguration, or any permanent loss or impairment of bodily organ/functions. Simply, if you have caused another person to be severely injured you may be charged with this offense.
Due to the severe nature of this type of crime, intoxicated assault is a third-degree felony. The punishments include two (2) to ten (10) years in state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. The crime and its punishments may even be elevated depending on some circumstance surrounding your case.
Finding an Experienced DWI Attorney Near Me
A DWI with cocaine offense is a unique form of criminal offense in Texas. However, it is similar to a standard DWI with alcohol in many ways. First of all, it is considered to be the same type of crime. Also, it has the same penalties and punishments. If you are driving while intoxicated with cocaine, then you may be charged. This means that you are impaired and unable to function properly which can be a dangerous situation on the roadways.
If you have been charged with a DWI with cocaine offense, or any other type of DWI, then you need an attorney who experienced and will fight for you. At Andrew Deegan DWI Attorney at Law, we have worked with a variety of DWI offenses and we know who to handle them in court. If you are in the Fort Worth area, you should contact our offices at 817-470-2128. We are waiting to hear from you so that we can begin working on your case as soon as possible.