Howard County DUI Drug Cases
A person can be charged with a DUI for drug related impairment. It can be any drug, an illegal drug which is a contraband drug, an over the counter drug, and it can be regular prescription or non-prescription, anything that can impair a person’s driving ability. A person can get a DUI from using cold medications or allergy pills that can cause drowsiness. Call and schedule a consultation with a Howard County DUI drug lawyer to learn more.
Penalties for Drug Related Impairment in DUI Cases
Penalties are relatively the same. For first offense, the maximum penalty is one year in jail and a $1000 fine, or 60 days and a $500 fine, depending on how the person is charged.
Testing for Drugs
Generally the presence of drugs is tested by a blood sample. A person can refuse that test.
If the person does not submit to a blood test or they are not offered a blood test, and they took a breath test that came back with zeroes, the officer presumes the person is under the influence of drugs and may call for a Drug Recognition Expert officer who has been trained for drug recognition.
The DRE officers attend specific classes and are trained to recognize the impairment in a driver caused by a drug that may or may not be in addition to alcohol. These programs are offered through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. They teach the officer exactly what he or she looks for, how the test should be administered, and any of the indictors that are involved. The DRE runs through a series of questions and procedural tests. They are doing a 12-step protocol; every DRE officer is trained to follow the 12-step protocol and must follow is exactly.
Biggest Mistakes to Avoid in Howard County Drug DUIs
For drug DUI cases, the biggest mistakes to avoid are relying on the facts that a drug was prescribed, or that it was not an illegal drug. The mistake occurs when a drug is prescribed and it carries a warning label that says, “Do not operate a motor vehicle,” and the person is driving a vehicle. If a person takes Benadryl or something to help them sleep and they are still driving a car, it is a drug DUI offense. The impairment from that drug is enough for there to be a conviction for driving with a drug related impairment.
Involuntary Intoxication As a Defense
Involuntary intoxication is generally not a defense. In rare circumstances, there could be reason to believe that the drug was slipped into a drink or something that a person consumed and was not known to the person in any way, shape, or form. This is a very rare defense and is very difficult to prove.
The intoxication is voluntary because the person did take the drug; they knowingly took the drug. But if it had some form of odd reaction with the individual and it wasn’t something the person was made aware of by a pharmacist or their doctor, it could be a defense. But it may not be a perfect defense.
Contact Experienced Howard County DUI Lawyer
The 12-step DRE protocol is very specific. An attorney with experience defending drug cases where there is no blood and the DRE expert was not called, could use the defense that a regular officer may not have the proper training to prove that anything was wrong with the person charged. It may have been an overzealous officer who pulled the person over, asked them to take a breath test which they passed with a zero. The officer may look for factors from the Standard Field Sobriety Test, but they may not know they are supposed to take a first and second pulse the person. The divided attention test should include additional examinations of the person’s eyes. All 12 steps are very specific and must be followed exactly. These steps are taught to a Drug Recognition Expert, but are not taught to regular officers