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Prosecuting Drug Impaired Drivers

Since our youth, we’re inundated with information about the dangers of drinking and driving. By the time American children hit the sixth grade they know all about drunk driving; some of them are even smart enough to stay out of an adult’s car if they’ve been drinking.

We know drinking and driving is bad, but what a lot of people don’t realize is that drug impaired driving can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol.

According to the American Prosecutors Research Institute (APRI), drugged drivers maim and kill thousands of people each year in the United States. However, prosecuting drug impaired drivers is no easy task.

By far the vast majority of jurors know all about alcohol’s effects, but they know little to nothing about how drugs affect coordination, cognitive thinking, judgement, and driving ability. After watching shows like CSI, jurors can have what prosecutors deem as “unrealistic expectations” about having sufficient scientific proof of impaired driving – but this works to the defense’s advantage.

DUI of Drugs is Harder to Prosecute

The issue here is that unlike alcohol, most states have yet to establish “per se” limits for people who drive under the influence of drugs. For a prosecutor to successfully convict someone of DUI of drugs, the prosecutor must have an excellent understanding of drug toxicology. Why?

Because, prosecuting DUI of drugs is more complicated than prosecuting alcohol-related DUIs – legally and scientifically. There are literally dozens, if not hundreds of different types of drugs that law enforcement catches people driving under the influence on.

From marijuana, to LSD, to OxyContin, to heroin, to Ambien, Xanax, and everything in between, all of these drugs affect driving ability differently and we lack scientific evidence about how these drugs impair driving ability.

Since there are so many types of drugs, both legal and illegal, that people drive on every day, it’s difficult to determine when impairment begins, thus DUI of drug cases require special handling by state prosecutors.

There is a lot of scientific data available on alcohol, but there is little scientific evidence on how dozens of other drugs impair a person’s ability to drive safely. For example, we know that driving while on antipsychotic medication can be dangerous, but the law hasn’t established how much affects driving ability.

Prosecutors and law enforcement realize that drugged driving is underreported, difficult to predict and even more difficult to measure. While it’s illegal to drive under the influence of any drugs in California, the scientific research behind drugged driving is still in its infantile stages and thus, subject to questioning by a savvy DUI defense attorney.

If you’re facing drug-related DUI charges, you need a DUI lawyer, such as Attorney Landry who is experienced defending DUI of drug charges. As a Board Certified DUI specialist and member of the National College for DUI Defense, she has what it takes to defend you – call now!