THC and DUI Laws in Texas: What You Need to Know


THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is a psychoactive compound found in marijuana that is responsible for its mind-altering effects. As the popularity of marijuana continues to rise, it is essential to understand the laws and regulations surrounding THC, particularly as it relates to driving under the influence (DUI). This article will delve into THC and DUI laws in Texas, providing you with the information you need to know to stay informed and safe.

Understanding THC

THC is the primary psychoactive compound in marijuana, and it works by binding to receptors in the brain, altering normal brain function. When consumed, THC can produce a range of effects, including relaxation, euphoria, altered perception of time, and impaired coordination. It is crucial to recognize that these effects can impair one's ability to drive safely.

DUI Laws in Texas

In Texas, driving under the influence of THC is illegal. The state has strict DUI laws to mitigate the risks associated with impaired driving. It is important to remember that THC, even if consumed for medical purposes, can still impair your ability to drive and increase the chances of a DUI charge.

Implied Consent and Blood Testing

In cases where law enforcement suspects a driver of driving under the influence of THC, they have the authority to request a blood test. Texas adheres to an implied consent law, meaning when you obtain a driver's license, you inherently agree to submit to chemical testing if arrested on suspicion of DUI. Refusal to submit to a blood test can result in license suspension and other penalties.

Misdemeanor or Felony Charge

If you are arrested for driving under the influence of THC in Texas and it is your first offense, it typically results in a misdemeanor charge. However, if you have previous DUI convictions or if there was a child in the vehicle during the incident, you may face felony charges. Felony charges carry more severe penalties, including higher fines and longer jail sentences.

Penalties for DUI Involving THC

The penalties for a DUI involving THC in Texas vary depending on several factors, including the number of previous convictions and the level of THC in your system at the time of the offense. Let's take a closer look at the potential penalties:

  • First Offense: A first-time DUI offense involving THC can result in a fine of up to $2,000, a license suspension of up to one year, mandatory attendance of a DUI education program, and potential jail time of up to 180 days.
  • Subsequent Offenses: Repeat offenses carry harsher penalties, including increased fines, longer license suspensions, mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device, and extended jail sentences.
  • Child Endangerment: If there was a child under the age of 15 in the vehicle at the time of the offense, you may face child endangerment charges in addition to the DUI charges. This can result in additional fines, increased jail time, and potential loss of custody or visitation rights.

Defenses for THC DUI Charges

If you are facing a DUI charge involving THC in Texas, it is crucial to understand that you have rights and potential defenses. While each case is unique, some common defenses include:

  • Rising Blood THC Level: THC concentration in the blood can increase over time, meaning the actual level at the time of driving may have been below the legal limit.
  • Inaccurate Testing: Challenging the accuracy or reliability of the blood test conducted can provide grounds for defense.
  • Improper Traffic Stop: If the arresting officer did not have a valid reason to stop you in the first place, it may be possible to argue that the evidence collected should be suppressed.


THC is a psychoactive compound found in marijuana, and driving under its influence is illegal in Texas. Understanding the laws and potential penalties is crucial for staying informed and avoiding DUI charges. Remember, THC can impair your ability to drive safely, so it is always best to find alternative transportation if you have consumed marijuana. Stay educated, stay safe!