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DWI Prescription Attorney in Dallas/Fort Worth TX

Prescription drugs can be used to treat a number of physical and mental illnesses and medical conditions. Some people use prescription drugs to treat serious depression or anxiety. Others use prescription drugs to control pain or allow them to sleep at night. There may be a long list of side effects of these drugs, including side effects that impact a person's ability to drive. 

Texas driving while intoxicated (DWI) laws do not only apply to alcohol or illegal drugs. A DWI can also involve prescription drugs. Many drivers are unexpectedly pulled over and charged with a DWI even if they did not know their prescription drug could impair driving. Some drivers are charged with a DWI for something unrelated to the drug, like driving while distracted or while tired. 

The penalties for a prescription drug DWI can be severe, including possible jail time, a criminal record, and losing your license. Retaining an attorney as soon as possible may be your best chance at fighting a Texas DWI conviction. Contact Carl David Ceder Attorney at Law to learn more about how to deal with a prescription drug DWI in Dallas/Fort Worth and the surrounding area.  

Texas DWI Laws for Prescription Drugs

Under Texas Penal Code § 49.04, driving while intoxicated as an offense committed when “the person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place.”

Under Texas Penal Code § 49.01, intoxication means, “not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body.”

The DWI law treats all these substances the same for determining intoxication. Drivers can face the same criminal charge if they were under the influence of alcohol, methamphetamines, Xanax, or cough medicine. 

Prescription Drugs as a Controlled Substance

Controlled substances include both legal and illegal drugs and substances. Controlled drugs are classified by a schedule by the Texas Controlled Substances Act

  • Schedule I drugs are considered to have a high risk of abuse and no accepted medical use in the United States, such as heroin, marijuana, LSD, and PCP.
  • Schedule II drugs have a high risk of abuse but have safe and accepted medical uses. These drugs include common prescription drugs, including, oxycodone (Percodan), methylphenidate (Ritalin), Vicodin, Adderall, and dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine).
  • Schedule III, IV, or V drugs have a lower risk of abuse than Schedule II. These may include common prescription drugs, such as acetaminophen with codeine (Tylenol No.3), diazepam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax), propoxyphene (Darvon), and pentazocine (Talwin).

Texas Drug DWI Penalties 

The criminal penalties for a Texas DWI may be the same for a driver under the influence of a prescription drug as for someone under the influence of a street drug. The criminal charges and penalties may depend on the specific facts of your case, prior criminal history, and whether anyone was hurt in an accident. 

DWI Offense

Jail Time


License Suspension

First DWI 

Class B Misdemeanor

up to 180 days in jail

up to $2,000

1 year

Second DWI 

Class A Misdemeanor

up to 1 year in jail

up to $4,000

2 years

Third DWI 

3rd-Degree Felony

2 to 10 years in prison

up to $10,000

2 years

Fourth DWI 

2nd-Degree Felony

2 to 20 years in prison

up to $10,000

2 years

Chemical Blood Test for a Prescription Drug DWI

Under Texas “implied consent” laws, you have consented to a chemical test simply by driving on Texas roads and highways. When the police suspect alcohol, they can test with a breath or blood sample. However, when the officer suspects you are intoxicated by drugs, he or she may request a blood sample. This blood sample will be tested for the presence of controlled substances, usually, through a process known as gas chromatography.

Legal and Illegal Possession of a Prescription Drug

Under Texas Penal Code § 49.10, “the fact that the defendant is or has been entitled to use the alcohol, controlled substance, drug, dangerous drug, or other substance is not a defense.”

This means that legal possession and use of a prescription drug is not a defense to a DWI charge. However, if you are in possession of a prescription drug without a valid prescription, you may also face drug possession charges. 

Defending a Texas Prescription DWI

Your Texas DFW criminal defense lawyer is familiar with how drugged driving cases in the local courts. There may be a number of ways for you to challenge a prescription DWI charge, including: 

  • Challenging the field sobriety tests, 
  • Challenge the test by the drug recognition expert (DRE),
  • Challenging the chemical tests, 
  • Constitutional violations, and
  • Lack of evidence. 

Your lawyer may be able to file a motion to suppress unreliable or tainted evidence, including drug tests, evidence of prescription pills, or police test results. Without the evidence, the prosecutor may not have a case and may have to drop the charges against you before you even go to trial. Talk to your attorney about how you can fight your prescription drug DWI charges in Texas to avoid a criminal conviction and keep your license. 

“I did not know my prescription would impair my driving.”  

A common reaction for drivers who are charged with a prescription drug DWI is that they did not know their prescription would impact or impair their driving. The driver may have been taking the drug for months without any problem when suddenly, getting pulled over for speeding leads to a drug DWI because the officer suspected the driver was under the influence. 

Unfortunately, not knowing about the influence of a drug is generally not a defense. Under Texas Penal Code § 49.11, with some exceptions, proof of a culpable mental state is not required for conviction of an offense under this chapter.

Contact an Aggressive, Smart DWI Defense Lawyer in Dallas Fort Worth Today

Carl David Ceder represents clients who were arrested for prescription drug DWI charges in and around the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area. He knows that there's a lot at stake in these cases, including the loss of your license, fines, and even possible jail time. Contact his office online or at 469-900-0000 today.