A driving under the influence (DUI) drug-related impairment case can come about in many ways. The person is driving and stops for a traffic offense, and that investigation leads the officer to think that there was drug usage prior, either by something they see, something they smell, or a statement from the defendant. Another way DUI drug cases start is that someone might be asleep or passed out in their car, and then, upon being awakened, the officer begins a DUI drug investigation. This can be the case for prescription medication or opiates, as they have a sedating effect, and sometimes even an EMT will be called to respond and then later call the police under suspicion of DUI.
DUI drug offenses could also come from car accidents where the police suspect the collision occurred due to narcotics. This can be based on the impression the officer gets from the person involved in the accident, anything they can find in the car, or statements made about where the person was, where they were going, and why the accident occurred.
If you have been accused fo driving under the influence of drugs, you should seek help from a Delaware County DUI drug lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced DUI attorney could protect your rights and help you avoid the consequences of a conviction.
Prescribed drugs, which are controlled substances, meaning that they had to be prescribed under a doctor’s order, would count for DUI effect on a person, especially if they are the type that impairs a person’s ability to drive. There should be notices about that on the drug label, but this will be detectable only through a blood test. Without a blood test, it would merely be suspicion of DUI that officers are operating under.
Over-the-counter medication may have an alcohol component, which makes them unable to be taken safely while driving. When in doubt, a driver should be safe and consider not driving if they are under the effect of a medication that has any parts alcohol or other sedating qualities. Depending on the type of Benadryl, Nyquil, or Advil™ and other over-the-counter medication, it could still make a DUI if ingested in sufficient quantity.
Any statement that included smoking even a day before or ingesting drugs any time within even 72 hours may lead to further prolonged police interaction. The officer might be required under their police procedures to continue investigating for DUI when otherwise they would have had no probable cause to prolong a stop. For that reason, people should not overly offer information that they were smoking marijuana or using other recreational drugs at any time prior to driving.
Penalties from drug-related DUI are in the same class as the highest category of alcohol impairment. Even a small amount of marijuana or prescription medication could lead to the highest consequences of DUI. For a first offense, that could be 72 hours in jail to six months’ incarceration as well as a 12-month license suspension.
In a DUI drug case, the officers might also search the car for evidence of intoxication, and that could be subject to a motion to suppress any evidence that is found based on that type of search. Many DUI drug cases will start with a search to see if there is evidence that the person used drugs recently before driving or has drugs on them at that time in the car.
Additionally, there is a challenge to the field sobriety tests and their ability to properly be used for drug detection as opposed to just alcohol detection, and the differences in how obvious these impairment signs are. For example, prescription pills may not have the same odor, smell, or visual cues that alcohol or marijuana would as well as how specific and knowledgeable the officer was when making their stop to determine the source of intoxication. The case may come down to a chemical challenge of the test, and that would be if the person consented to a chemical test, then there would be some evidence that needs to be evaluated and challenged.
Due to the serious consequences a person could face following a conviction for driving under the influence, it is best to reach out to a seasoned Delaware County DUI drug lawyer. An attorney could investigate the incident, ensure your rights are protected, and help you build a defense.
Call today to learn more about how an attorney could help your case.