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Attorneys Stephen G. Fabian Jr. and Brian P. Young

What to know about DUI involving substances

On Behalf of | Oct 21, 2020 | DUI - Drunk Driving |

Alcohol commonly gets associated with DUIs in Oklahoma, but it can also include other substances. Even legal prescriptions, whether medicinal marijuana or muscle relaxers, can impair driving ability that could get the driver a DUI charge. Legal prescriptions often cannot be used as a DUI defense.

DUI stats

A Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration study in 2010 revealed that in the year before around 10 million Americans used illegal substances before driving. A study by the National Highway Safety Traffic Commission found in 2009 that the 18% of fatal injury crashes involved at least one substance. The stats suggest that being under the influence of these substances could be as dangerous as alcohol.

The measurement of drug impairment

All 50 states set the legal BAC, blood alcohol content at 0.08%. Since alcohol travels through the body quickly, it can be measured on the scene. Breathalyzer commonly give the most accurate results, which usually makes the driver plea guilty in most cases. Police departments may also order blood or urine tests.

The NHSTA told Congress that no sufficient data exists to link a dose limit with increased risk of vehicle crashes. Some drugs leave the body quicker than others, such as cocaine, which makes detecting impairment inconclusive. This is the reason 44 states have enacted per se laws that makes any amount in the bloodstream illegal.

How drugs can affect driving

Some drugs can cause euphoria, relaxation, increased heart rate, and disorientation, such as marijuana and cocaine. Methamphetamine, morphine and heroin, often, cause more intense impairment, which may cause hallucinations, slow heart rates, nausea, vomiting and poor reflexes. The use of LSD frequently causes an altered mental state and poor time and space perception. Certain prescription drugs could produce an effect similar to alcohol, such as antidepressants. Even decongestants can cause drowsiness.

A DUI-Drugs charge of any kind has legal consequences, but it has to be legitimate. An attorney may be able to look into the case.