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Can I be Arrested for Driving Under the Influence of Drugs?

DUI is usually associated with drunk driving. But alcohol isn’t the only substance that can earn you a ticket for driving under the influence. In fact, everything from prescription drugs to herbal remedies can be the source of a DUI citation if they significantly impairs your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. Be proactive and learn about the risks of driving while drugged. Could your prescription lead to a DUI arrest?

What is DUI?

Put simply, driving under the influence is an offense that refers to a motorist operating their vehicle after partaking in a substance that alters their ability to do so safely. Some of the things influenced by alcohol include:

  • Attentiveness
  • Judgment
  • Reaction time

What Types of Substances Can Trigger a DUI?

Perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions about DUI charges is that they always stem from alcohol. Alcohol is indeed the top contributor to DUIs, playing a major role in what the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates are at least 1.5 million DUI incidents each year. But DUI isn’t limited to alcohol. Other things that can influence your ability to drive safely include:

  • Prescription drugs like muscle relaxers
  • Illegal drugs like marijuana
  • Over the counter drugs

Clearly, some of these substances are illegal. But others aren’t and that’s a key thing to remember. Simply put, having a prescription won’t protect you from getting a DUI charge and conviction.

What Laws Surround DUIs?

Laws surrounding impaired driving are made at the state level and can vary dramatically. Each state sets its own cutoff limits for the presence of a substance before a driver is deemed under the influence. Penalties also vary from state to state. In states like Wisconsin, a first-offense DUI is a civil infraction that will get you a ticket. But in Arizona, Tennessee, and Georgia jail time is mandatory for even the first DUI.

Can You Beat a DUI Charge?

DUI charges can have serious consequences depending on where you get them. But the good news is that a DUI case is not a slam dunk for the prosecution. You can beat a DUI charge using legal maneuvers such as motions, objections, and arguments. In fact, it can be even harder for a DUI due to drug use, because police can’t always immediately test to prove the presence of drugs.

Catching a DUI charge doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Contact a skilled criminal lawyer in Bloomington, IL to work on a strategy to secure your freedom.

Thanks to Pioletti, Pioletti & Nichols for their insight into criminal law and drug DUI arrests.