Drugged Driving Laws
In many states, the law regarding drugged driving, or more formally known as driving under the influence of drugs, is exceptionally similar to other DUI and DWI charges. For the most part, these charges are the same due to the language of the law regarding driving under the influence. In most states, the substance detailed in the language of the law itself is not specified directly as alcohol. Often referred to as a controlled substance or an intoxicant, these materials are punished similarly to alcohol.
Perhaps one of the largest legal differences between a drugged and drunk driving charge is the amount of substance in a person’s system at the time of arrest. Most states uphold a 0.08 BAC limitation at the time of arrest, meaning that anything over this level in a blood, urine, or breathalyzer test is grounds for a DUI or DWI charge. On the other hand, different states often treat drugs with less tolerance. Although some may prefer to use a vague term of impairment as grounds for a drug-related DUI, others prefer a strict zero tolerance policy.
Considering the wide variety of possible drugs that may be involved in a drugged driving case, there are some variations even within zero toleration laws. For many of these states, the drugs involved in zero tolerance charges are specifically listed according to subsequent legal definitions. This means that only certain classifications or types of drugs are considered for immediate DUI charges, regardless of substance amount or effect. On the other hand, prescription or over-the-counter drugged driving charges may still abide by the concept of impaired driving instead of a set amount or quantity of drugs.
As these DUI and DWI charges are essentially the same, the penalties do not necessarily change. Although catching a driver with a certain amount of a controlled substance may warrant additional charges, the punishments associated with drugged driving still include license suspension, probation, fines, and possibly jail. To learn more about how drivers can legally defend themselves against these charges, contact a criminal attorney.