Can I be Arrested for Driving Under the Influence of Drugs?
Police officers are well-versed in spotting drivers who may be intoxicated. There are signs, such as weaving, erratic speed and a total disregard for traffic control devices that often trigger a traffic stop. At the stop, if a police officer suspects you are under the influence and a danger to the public, you may be arrested. While it is easier to determine alcohol intoxication, being under the influence of something else doesn’t get you a pass to continue on your way. If you are exhibiting signs of impairment, the police can arrest you whether a test measures it or not.
Drug Recognition Experts
Some jurisdictions have specially trained officers who are certified as Drug Recognition Experts or DREs. If the department that pulls you over has these individuals on staff, they will come to the scene to determine if you are under the influence of drugs. They will conduct specific tests and observe behaviors. Some drug users have physical indicators like sores often left behind by long-term methamphetamine use. Other substances leave little to no physical trace, but cause your behavior to change.
Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drugs
Keep in mind, driving under the influence of drugs does not consider just illegal narcotics. Over-the-counter medication and valid prescriptions may also inhibit your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. Therefore, even if you can prove that the substance you were taking was legal, you may still get arrested. Even if the medication you’re taking has never adversely affected your behavior before, you may have mixed it with something that intensifies the effects. Be aware that some drugs, including the following, may land you in handcuffs:
- Medical marijuana
- Muscle relaxers
- Allergy medication
- Some anti-anxiety medicines
Note that if you are carrying your prescription with you, it must be in the original bottle with your name indicated. If an officer finds something that you cannot prove belongs to you, there may be additional charges.
Further Testing Once in Custody
Some jurisdictions will obtain a warrant for a blood or urine test upon your arrest. However, some drugs may no longer show up on the results. This does not necessarily mean you will get released. It does mean that if anything comes back, even trace amounts, it will go a long way in proving the officer’s belief that you were driving impaired.
When operating a vehicle, it is crucial that you have all your faculties about you. Knowing that you may get stopped, even for taking something you are prescribed to take, may make you think twice before climbing behind the wheel. If you find yourself in legal trouble, a good DUI lawyer in Denver, CO may be able to assist you and keep your record clear.
Thanks to Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into criminal defense and DUI charges.