College Park Drug DUI Lawyer
Drug-related impairment in DUI charges have recently been on the rise in College Park. A lot of police stops are related to the use of marijuana. As the possibility of marijuana legalization becomes a reality, the enforcement of drug-related DUIs will only go up. It is possible to be charged with a drug DUI while under the influence of both legal, and illegal substances. However, drug DUIs are often difficult to prove, and with the assistance of a College Park drug DUI lawyer, these charges can sometimes be successfully contested.
Prosecution of DUID Charges in College Park
Until there is any substantiating law to prove that a DUI is drug related, the state has to have hard evidence from a drug recognition expert (DRE), who is a specially trained officer, who uses their own observations of the driver to see if they meet all twelve points of the DRE investigation, and as a result, that they were under the influence of drugs. They have to meet all the requisites in order for the State’s Attorney to seriously consider that they were under the influence of drugs.
Drug-related DUIs are very difficult to prove, even if there is information from the stop and good evidence from a drug recognition expert (DRE). The only reliable way to prove it beyond that is if at the stop the driver submits to a blood test and the result shows that they in fact had drugs in their system. That would be definitive proof that they are in fact under the influence of drugs. Without a blood test, a drug DUI lawyer in College Park may be able to provide a helpful defense.
Driving while impaired is a lesser offense, but it can also be charged for drug related impairment. In a sense, DWI and DUI are two separate offenses, with different penalty levels. Maximum penalties will vary depending on whether it is a first, second or third offense.
Penalties for a DUID
The penalties generally are the same for a DUI offense, be it by drug or alcohol. However, someone may not only be charged with DUI offenses, but they may also be charged with criminal offenses for possession of drugs. If there is greater than 10g of marijuana, cocaine, heroin or another illegal drug found in the vehicle, they can be charged with both criminal charges related to drugs and criminal charges related to the traffic offense. They will find that penalties in most cases can be greater.
Impairment by Legal or Prescribed Drugs
A good number of drug-related DUIs are from people who have been taking medications for pain management, illness, anxiety, or even for depression. Lots of those medications carry warnings that say, “Do not operate heavy machinery while taking or within a certain window of taking these pills.”
A lot of these pills and how they interact can be very unique to the individual, depending on a person’s body chemistry. When someone is just taking a drug for the first time they may not realize the effects it will have on them. They could be prescribed something on a Monday, take it before they go to work on a Tuesday and doze off on the road because it is too much. Five milligrams of a drug may act in a different manner in one person than in another. People have to have an opportunity to adjust to their prescription. If they do not and they are driving erratically and are stopped, they will be charged with driving while impaired.
Just because a doctor prescribes a drug, does not mean that it is safe to drive on that drug. This is something that people do not always realize, and it can lead to College Park DUID or DWI drug charges.
Benadryl is one of the best examples of over-the-counter medications which can cause drowsiness and impairment. Even none-drowsy Benadryl can make someone drowsy because non-drowsy, really means less drowsy. There are a lot of other drugs available over the counter that can cause issues. Many allergy and cold medications, such as Dayquil can cause drowsiness and impede the ability to drive a car. It is important to check the side effects of an over-the-counter drug before taking it.
Testing for Drugs
The best way to test for drugs is through a blood test. Through a blood test it can be seen if there is any type of drug in a person’s system and impairment can be proved that way. Outside of that, independent drug recognition experts who are called to a scene to assess individuals could be a way to test for drugs.
Drug recognition experts are specially trained to see whether someone may have drugs in their system, as related to a particular offense. They use a twelve point test. The more they test the more confidently they can say that it is not just possible, but probable. They are able to come to a conclusion because they have done their testing according to their training.
These experts are actually just officers who have taken a twelve hour course and learned the twelve point system, so if the prosecution relies on their testimony, instead of a blood test, that is something that a College Park Drug DUI attorney can certainly challenge. That alone can be a good basis for going to trial.
Refusing a Blood Test
It is permissible to refuse blood and breath tests and the decision whether or not to do so should be discussed with a College Park drug DUI attorney, if possible. If an officer is truly suspicious, they could try to get a warrant to force the driver to take a blood test, but that is rarely if ever seen in College Park. That is a more common occurrence in federal cases.