Texas considers driving under the influence of marijuana to be a crime. Since the state has not decriminalized marijuana possession, the person charged with this type of DWI now faces an additional charge: that of possessing an illegal substance. Having a Houston criminal defense lawyer for legal representation is essential to prevent the worst consequences from occurring due to these charges.
A driver with any level of marijuana detected through a blood or urine test is viewed as a DWI situation. That’s in contrast to a DWI charge with alcohol, in which the blood alcohol content typically must be .08 or higher unless other circumstances are involved. Law enforcement might arrest a driver for DWI with a lower BAC if the driver had caused an accident, for example.
With marijuana, the person can be charged even if only a minute level was found through testing. A significant problem with this for the driver is that marijuana chemicals linger in the body long after the “high” is completely gone. Someone can be charged with marijuana DWI even if he or she was not intoxicated. For all these reasons, a criminal attorney Houston is important to help the person avoid jail time and steep penalties.
Possible penalties for a marijuana DWI conviction are hefty, and a judge has some discretion as to whether to issue a more lenient or a more severe sentence. For instance, for a first offense, a convicted person could be sentenced to as little as a few days in jail or as much as six months. The maximum fine is $2,000, which is not affordable for many people. The individual risks having the drivers license suspended for a full year.
A defense lawyer tackles the DWI charges by working to have the charges dropped or reduced by the prosecuting attorney, or the case dismissed by a judge. Maybe technical errors were made by law enforcement during the arrest process, or maybe the client was pulled over for no valid reason. If this proves impossible, the next step is to convince the judge to issue the most lenient sentence allowed by law. The client may be able to substitute hours of community service for jail time, for example.