Impaired driving is dangerous, no matter which substance affects the driver. Many people tend to think of alcohol as the definitive substance that impairs drivers. This isn’t the case. Drivers can also be impaired by drugs of all sorts.
Whether a driver is affected by a prescription medication, an over-the-counter medicine or an illegal drug, it is possible for that person to face criminal charges in relation to the incident. Here are a few things you need to know when you are accused of impaired driving related to drugs instead of alcohol:
Impairment level is hard to prove
When a person is impaired by drunk driving, there are tests that can be done to determine the intoxication level. The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test puts a numeric value on the amount of alcohol in the driver’s system. If that level is above .08 percent for a person who can legally consume alcohol, they are considered legally intoxicated.
There isn’t such a test for drug impairment. While there are tests that can tell if someone has done specific drugs, there isn’t a way to tell how they are impacting the person at the time the sample was taken. Most drugs can remain in the system and cause a person to test positive for them long after the effects of the drugs have worn off.
Types of drugs that can lead to impairment
Drugs that are illegal, including cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana can all cause the person to get high. This impairment can lead to the inability to drive in a safe manner.
Over-the-counter drugs, such as antihistamines, can lead to impairment. It is best if you read the labeling information about any medication you are going to take to determine if there is a risk of drowsiness or dizziness. You shouldn’t drive if these are on the list of possible side effects unless you are certain you know how they will impact your ability to navigate the roads.
It doesn’t matter what type of drug has impaired you. There is still a chance that you will face criminal charges if you are driving. Officers might use the standardized field sobriety test to determine your impairment level. Taking all of the information regarding the situation into account might help you to determine how you want to handle the charges when the time comes.