Most people tend to associate intoxicated driving with motorists who are drunk. While the majority of Connecticut DUI charges do stem from driver impairment related to alcohol, the danger of being on the road while under the influence of drugs can’t be overstated.
In some ways, drugged driving is more dangerous than drunk driving. One reason for this is that people might drive drugged and not even realize that they are impaired. Here are some things to know about driving under the influence of drugs.
Illegal AND legal drugs can cause impairment
Drugged driving is not only a matter of illegal drug use. While it is possible to face DUI charges because of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine or marijuana, those aren’t the only drugs that can lead to criminal charges. You can face a drugged driving charge for over-the-counter (OTC) medications and prescription drugs.
The important issue is that “legal” drugs can impair your ability to drive safely. Medications that come with a warning about drowsiness or dizziness probably shouldn’t be taken before you get behind the wheel. You need to determine the extent to which those types of medications will affect you before you decide to drive.
Preventing drugged driving
Prevention of drugged driving is a challenge because there are no standardized tests — like blood alcohol concentration (BAC) tests for alcohol — that apply to drugs. The drugs can remain in a person’s system long after the effects wear off, which means you can’t rely on the blood test or urinalysis results to determine the intoxication level.
This means that officers might rely on highly subjective testing methods, like field sobriety tests, to determine if a driver is too impaired to operate a vehicle. The driver’s own information, such as naming what medications they are taking, might also be used.
Defenses against drugged driving charges
Drugged driving defenses are similar to those used for drunk driving. When drugs are at the heart of the matter, you might be able to question how police offers determined that you were too intoxicated to drive or how they determined what supposedly led to the impairment.
An experienced DUI defense attorney can look at everything from the hours leading up to the traffic stop through the time you were officially arrested on the charges. It is important to evaluate the possibilities honestly so that you can make an informed decision about the defense strategy you want to use.