Drugged driving is the new hot word that is being tossed around criminalists, police officers, and prosecutors. Drugged driving is the act of operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs. Drugged driving is a hot topic because of continued marijuana legalization. There is a concern that legalization will lead to more impaired (drugged) driving. This post will go over the latest updates in drugged driving, both legal and on-the-ground developments.
Most states outlaw drugged driving under the same statutes that outlaw DWIs. The operative language is that you cannot operate a vehicle while ‘impaired,’ which covers drugs and alcohol. Furthermore, impaired includes both illicit and legal drugs. So you can face charges if you take a muscle relaxant or Xanax and it impairs your ability to drive (the law may presume you are impaired if the instructions warn you not to operate machinery).
Finally, since you are subject to the same laws as alcohol. That also means that police can stop you at checkpoints, examine you for evidence of drugged driving, and even administer a breath test. Granted, a widely accepted breath test does not exist, but several universities and companies are working on technology to bring it to law enforcement. A breathalyzer isn’t all bad; it would introduce uniformity in investigations and prosecutions, which curbs the unfair application of law.
The issue with drugged driving charges is that investigating and proving “drugged driving” is an unsettled question. There is no golden rule like over 0.08% BAC. In fact, there is no objective measurement of drugged driving. In these situations, it is critical that you seek the assistance of a lawyer. These fluid situations allow prosecutors to ramp up the potential consequences and penalties seriously. A lawyer can ensure that you are treated fairly.