Drugged driving occurs when a person is stopped or arrested for driving a vehicle while under the influence of an illegal drug. State DWI and DUI laws make it illegal for a person to drive while under the influence of certain controlled substances. These include various illegal drugs, as well as some legal drugs and substances. Many fatal drunk driving cases actually involve a mix of drugs and some sort of illegal drug.
By far the most common type of drug in drugged driving cases is marijuana. This may be due to the fact that marijuana use (especially medical marijuana) is legal in some areas. However, just like alcohol use, a person cannot be driving if they’re under the influence of marijuana. Likewise, abuse of legal substances can also be considered an offense in terms of drugged driving.
Other drugs that are commonly present in a person’s system following a car crash or DUI arrest include:
The use of drugs while driving can be particularly dangerous if the drug makes the driver lose consciousness (such as heroin or certain opiate-based pain drugs). Also, drugs that alter one’s consciousness to the point where they have difficulty distinguishing reality (such as certain hallucinogens and stimulants) can cause serious problems for a driver.
Penalties for drugged driving can be just as severe or more severe than those for alcohol-based DUI’s. Penalties may depend on factors such as:
Penalties for misdemeanor charges can involve criminal fines and/or short jail time. Penalties for felonies can involve higher fines and extended periods in jail. Drugged driving that causes death or serious injury will likely be filed as a felony.
Drug driving cases can sometimes involve very serious criminal (and sometimes civil) consequences. You should hire a criminal lawyer if you need help with legal matters in court. Your attorney can advise you on your rights and can inform you of how to proceed with a legal strategy. Also, your lawyer can help research the drug laws in your area, as they are different from place to place.
Last Modified: 05-24-2018 08:52 PM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
We've helped more than 4 million clients find the right lawyer – for free. Present your case online in minutes. LegalMatch matches you to pre-screened lawyers in your city or county based on the specifics of your case. Within 24 hours experienced local lawyers review it and evaluate if you have a solid case. If so, attorneys respond with an offer to represent you that includes a full attorney profile with details on their fee structure, background, and ratings by other LegalMatch users so you can decide if they're the right lawyer for you.