Texas's Drugged Driving Law

Learn about the laws and penalties for driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) in Texas.

Texas’s drugged driving law is located at Texas Penal Code Section 49.01 and it prohibits a driver from operating a vehicle while intoxicated. “Intoxicated" 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.

In other words, in Texas it’s a crime to drive while lacking mental or physical faculties because of a drug. No blood testing standard is established in Texas – that is, there is no fixed amount of drugs within the blood system that determines conviction. Whether a driver is impaired is determined on a case-by-case basis and at the discretion of the prosecutor.

What drugs are prohibited?

Texas’s drugged driving law is directed at the prohibition of “a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug. (A listing of controlled substances regulated by federal law are found at the Drug Enforcement Administration website.) It’s not an acceptable defense to a drugged driving charge to claim that the driver is legally entitled to use the controlled substance.

What happens if a driver is convicted of drug impaired driving in Texas?

A driver arrested for drugged driving in Texas will be charged with driving under the influence and subject to DUI penalties. A conviction for drugged driving will be considered as a prior offense for purposes of calculating punishment regardless of whether a subsequent offense is due to alcohol or drugs. Read more about Texas’s DUI laws.

Do Texas drivers have to submit to drug testing?

Yes, there is an implied consent rule for blood, saliva, and urine testing. The refusal to take the test can be admitted into evidence against the driver.

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