Drugged driving – right or wrong, most of us have driven under the influence of some sort of a medication or controlled substance at one time or another.
Whether we have lingering traces of a sleep medication in our systems, such as Ambien or Lunesta from the night before, or if we drive an hour after taking a hit of medical marijuana to help us eat during chemotherapy treatments, it’s not uncommon for people to drive under the influence of one controlled substance or another.
Each drug affects us differently and many formulations, whether they’re prescriptions or illegal street drugs, impair our ability to drive safely.
For years now, the U.S. government has recognized that drugged driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving, so now you can get a DUI for driving under the influence of virtually any drug, so long as it impairs your ability to drive.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), drugged driving can put you, your passengers and other people on the roadway at risk.
Why is drugged driving such a problem?
There are literally dozens, if not hundreds of different drugs on the market and on the street, and they each affect the brain differently.
Some cause extreme drowsiness while others cause dizziness, slurred speech, and wild hallucinations. Many drugs affect balance and coordination.
For example, cocaine can cause drivers to be reckless and aggressive, whereas sedatives, called benzodiazepines can cause people to get dizzy or fall asleep at the wheel.
In the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 2013-2014 National Roadside Survey, it found that 22 percent of drivers (during the weekdays and weekend nights) tested positive for some type of drug, including over-the-counter drugs, prescription medications, and illegal drugs.
Similar to an alcohol-related DUI, law enforcement can stop a vehicle for erratic driving or some other traffic violation and, if they believe the driver is under the influence, can arrest that driver and test them for drugs under California Vehicle Code Sec. 23152(e).
The problem with DUI drug arrests is not that drugged driving is hard to prove, it’s determining at which point a drug impairs a person. Some prescription drugs can stay in a person's blood stream for days, which makes it impractical if you have to drive to and from work or school.
Arrested for DUI of drugs?
If you've recently been arrested for drugged driving, there is hope. Discuss your defense with an Orange County DUI lawyer at our law firm today!