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A Texas DWI Lawyer Reveals How Police ID Impaired Drivers

Texas DWI attorneyWhich tactics do law enforcement officers use to identify drivers they believe are impaired? According to an article in verywellmind.com, this rise in prescription drug use has prompted police to begin using Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) to determine if a driver is impaired.

This is done in accordance with the International Drug Evaluation and Classification (DEC) program – which is coordinated by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and supported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

How the process works

The DRE protocol is a 12-part process used to determine whether a suspect is impaired by drugs and identify which drugs may be involved. The steps include:

  • Administering a breath alcohol test upon stopping a driver for suspicion of DWI: In some cases, a suspect’s blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) may be under the legal limit of 0.08. If an officer still suspects that a person is impaired, a DRE may be called upon.
  • Interviewing the suspect: After reviewing the breath test results, a DRE may ask questions and observe a suspect’s behavior and overall demeanor.
  • Conducting a preliminary examination and first pulse: A DRE officer may conduct a preliminary examination to determine if a suspect’s behavior is caused by health condition or injury. The DRE may question a suspect about his or her health and use of prescription medication. The DRE may also observe a suspect’s pupils and eye movement, as well as check the pulse rate three times.
  • Conducting an eye examination: A DRE may administer an eye examination for horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN), vertical gaze Nystagmus (VGN), and lack of eye convergence. An eye examination may determine which classification of drugs a suspect may be impaired by.
  • Administering a field sobriety test: During a field sobriety test, a DRE may ask a suspect to perform a walk and turn, one-leg stand, finger-to-nose, and a Roberg Balance (which requires suspects to stand with their feet placed together, extend their hands in front of them, and close their eyes).
  • Conduct a dark room examination: If a suspect is arrested and booked, a DRE may determine if his or her pupils are dilated, constricted, or normal by using a pupilometer. During this examination, a DRE may also identify other signs of drug use by checking the nasal and oral cavities.
  • Checking muscle tone: Since some drugs can cause muscles to tense or relax, a DRE may check a suspect’s skeletal muscle tone to help determine impairment.
  • Checking for injection sites: A DRE may further check a suspect’s arms or other common injection sites for signs of drug use.
  • Questioning a suspect after arrest: After a DRE has read a suspect’s Miranda rights, further questioning regarding drug use may be conducted.
  • Forming an opinion based on analysis: A DRE may form an opinion regarding whether or not a suspect is impaired by identifying which classification of drugs are involved based on the DRE Drug Symptomatology Matrix.
  • Administering a toxicological examination: Lastly, a DRE may call for a suspect to take a urine, blood, and/or saliva test. The results of a toxicology test may provide evidence of impairment.

Understanding your rights

If you were stopped by police and arrested on suspicion of DWI, it’s critical that you always put your rights first. Errors in the DRE protocol are possible and can lead to a wrongful DWI conviction if evidence is brought before a jury. Furthermore, the behavior you exhibit and the statements you make during an interview can be used as incriminating evidence.

That’s why it’s important to remain calm and comply with police, but you aren't required to answer any questions or give statements. It’s best to remain silent and consult with an experienced Texas DWI defense lawyer as soon as possible. Contact Amanda Webb - DWI Lawyer today.

Is Driving While High Considered DWI in Texas?

Texas DWI attorneyAccording to High Times, being convicted for driving under the influence of marijuana is the same as being found guilty of drunken driving. That’s because cannabis, like alcohol, can impair driver reaction time, perception and spatial awareness. As a result, high drivers pose a danger to themselves and others on the road.

If you are stopped for suspicion of driving under the influence in Texas:

  • You are subject to testing.
  • Refusing to provide consent for blood specimens can be used as evidence against you.
  • You do not have the right to consult an attorney about whether to submit to the test.
  • Based on the test results, it’s up to a prosecutor to decide whether you will be charged.
  • In other words, you’re facing an uphill legal battle from the very moment you are stopped by police.

Penalties: Your Future Could Go Up in Smoke

In Texas, according to Leafly, the world’s largest cannabis-focused website, the penalties for driving while high include:

  • First offense (Class B misdemeanor): From 72 hours to 180 days in jail, $2,000 - $4,000 fine, or both; license revocation of up to one year; surcharge of $1,000 to $2,000 per year for three years.
  • Second offense (Class A misdemeanor): From 30 days to one year in jail, $4,000 fine, or both; license revocation for 180 days up to two years; surcharge of $1,500 to $2,000 per year for three years.
  • Third offense (third-degree felony): From two years to 10 years in prison, up to a $10,000 fine; community service for 160 to 600 hours; license suspension for 180 days to one year, surcharge of $1,000 to $2,000 per year for three years.

In addition, you may face substantially higher insurance rates, lose the ability to rent a car, and could lose your job (particularly if it requires driving).

Protect Your Rights

Just like someone who is accused of drunken driving, if you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana, you face an uncertain future. Texas is known for its tough stance against motorists who drive under the influence. Please note that proving that a driver was high at the time of being pulled over may be difficult, as specimens of cannabis can remain in a person’s system for weeks after use.

That’s why, in the Houston area, your first call after being arrested should be Texas DWI lawyer Amanda Webb. The Webb Firm, P.C. serves the Houston and The Woodlands areas, Conroe, and Montgomery and Waller Counties. In practice since 1990, her extensive experience gives her insights into the common mistakes made by police, how the local courts work, how to investigate the particulars of your case and how to aggressively present the best defense to protect your rights and your future.

At the same time, you will be treated with respect and compassion. Contact us today for a free case consultation.

Texas Attorney Discusses How to Avoid Financial Consequences of DWI Charge

Texas DWI attorneyIt could happen to anyone. A night out for a few drinks turns into a serious situation after being stopped by police. Even if you’ve had only a drink or two and are sure your blood alcohol content (BAC) level is below the legal limit, you may be deemed “impaired” if you happen to fail a field sobriety test or breath test.

Being charged with a DWI in Texas can have a number of legal and financial consequences that could last for months, and possibly years, after an arrest.

Once a police officer determines that you have been driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08 or higher, you will likely be arrested and booked. You will then likely be summoned to court on a specific date, where evidence could be brought against you before a judge.

Before appearing in court, it’s critical that you consult with an experienced Texas DWI defense attorney who can help you fight the charges.

What are the financial consequences?

If you are convicted of DWI in Texas, the penalties can be harsh, depending how many previous convictions you have received and other circumstances. These include:

  • First-time offenders could be fined up to $2,000 and lose their driver’s license for up to one year.
  • Second-time offenders could be fined up to $4,000 and lose their driver’s license for up to two years.
  • Third-time offenders could be fined at $10,000 and lose their driver’s license for up to two years.

In addition, those convicted of DWI would have spend a great deal of money before and after getting their driving privileges back. This includes:

  • Legal fees – not including attorney fees
  • Rehabilitation and alcohol education fees
  • Cost of transportation if you can’t drive
  • Driving class and drunk driving school fees
  • SR-22 insurance – which cost more than other insurance policies, is required to reinstate your license and must be purchased for two years
  • License reinstatement fees
  • An annual driver’s license retention fee of between $1,000 and $2,000 for three years
  • Vehicle modification costs – including the installation of an ignition interlock device

Avoid further troubles. Contact a DWI defense lawyer today

If you have been arrested for DWI, you will likely have to pay other unavoidable expenses, such as vehicle towing and impounding and court fees. However, if your DWI conviction was based on inconsistent evidence or a faulty breath test, you may have a strong legal defense.

Either way, it’s best to discuss your matter with an attorney at Amanda Webb – DWI Lawyer. She possesses a wealth of legal knowledge and real courtroom experience helping people convicted appeal their DWI charge and avoid a slew of further legal and financial challenges.

Don’t wait. Contact us today to discuss your legal options.

A Texas Attorney on What You Should Do If You Encounter the Police

Texas DWI attorneyEncountering law enforcement can be a scary ordeal. It can often make innocent people nervous and more likely to self-incriminate.

Even if you’re someone who obeys the law to the best of your ability, it’s likely that at some point you may encounter law enforcement. It’s important to understand how an encounter with police may occur and how it should be handled.

What to do when questioned by police

First and foremost, a law enforcement officer will ask questions. Whether you’ve been pulled over and suspected of drunk driving, or you’re being questioned about a crime that happened in your area, police ask questions to look for incriminating clues that can lead them to a suspect.

Even if you know you are 100 percent innocent, or believe you are helping police, the things you say can be incriminating. Additionally, if you have been accused of a crime you know you didn’t commit, attempting to talk your way out of an arrest can make matters worse.

Luckily, if you’re questioned by police for any reason, you may practice your right to remain silent, even if you are arrested, brought in for interrogation, or issued a subpoena. The only exception that applies is you must provide your name, and/or identification to police when asked for it.

Otherwise, it’s best to calmly tell police that you wish to speak to a lawyer before answering any questions.

What to do when stopped by police

If you are stopped on the street by police, you have the right to walk away or simply ask if you are free to go. If a police officer tells you you’re not free to go, yet you haven’t been arrested, then you are being detained. While this isn’t the same as being arrested, police may pat you down and search for weapons if they suspect that you may be armed.

If you are pulled over in your vehicle, you must keep your hands where police can see them. In addition, you must provide your driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance if an officer asks for them. You may be asked to step out of your vehicle, and if you’re with a passenger, you may be separated and questioned. Police are not allowed to search your vehicle unless they have a probable cause that a crime is being committed or you give them consent to do so.

What to do if you’re arrested

If you’re arrested on suspicion of a crime, you are still within your rights to remain silent and request immediate legal representation. After being arrested, you may appear before a judge within roughly 48 hours. That’s why you should consult with an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Amanda Webb – DWI Lawyer will launch a thorough investigation and use the details surrounding your arrest to help you build a solid criminal defense.

Don’t wait! Contact us today.

A Texas Attorney Weighs the Legal Ramifications of CBD in Texas

Texas criminal defense lawyerCannabidiol oil is available online and in stores in Texas; however, under the state’s Compassionate Use Act passed in 2016, it is legal only for people with intractable epilepsy, and those suffering from this degree of epilepsy must have a doctor’s prescription to buy it.

Brick-and-mortar stores in Texas offer numerous CBD products, including bath bombs and creams. Nonetheless, if you purchase CBD items without a valid prescription, even online, you may face charges if you’re caught.

You face the most danger if your CBD product contains THC, the active ingredient in hemp, which is related to marijuana. CBD extract or oil doesn’t contain any tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive ingredient that produces a high. So medical patients get the benefits of the hemp but not the high.

If you do not have a prescription, however, the legal consequences could be severe:

Legal penalties

CBD product that contains THC: The minimum sentence is 2 years in a state jail facility and a maximum of 99 years or Life in prison depending on the weight of the oil. This means:

  • Less than 1 gram is a State Jail Felony
  • 1-4 grams is a 3rd Degree Felony
  • 4-200 grams is a 2nd degree felony
  • Over 200 to 400 grams is a first degree felony
  • Over 400 grams is an aggravated first degree felony with a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison

Contamination

Potential police action is not the only problem a person faces when purchasing CBD products in Texas. For now, there are very few safeguards in place as to the quality of the CBD product you may purchase.

Products are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, so the purchaser can’t really be sure what’s in them. There’s no quality control as to safety, effectiveness or purity. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that fake CBD oil has poisoned dozens in Utah. In Houston a smoke shop was raided for labeling the drug kush, a kind of marijuana, as a CBD product.

Possible expansion of uses

Some Texas lawmakers are pushing for changes:

Medical: Lawmakers hope to add multiple sclerosis and other diseases with symptoms of spasticity, such as ALS and Parkinson’s disease, to the list of issues covered by the Compassionate Care Act. Proponents argue that many more patients will be able to get relief if this expansion is allowed.

Prescription: Right now, a patient must get a prescription from two doctors in order to obtain CBD products. State Rep. Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth, hopes to change that to just one doctor.

If you have a medical condition and need CBD treatment, let attorney Amanda Webb guide you through the process to make sure you are following the law. If you are facing drug charges, attorney Webb can help you fight the charges. Contact us today to learn more.