Oklahoma's Oldest DUI Defense Firm

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

Can drugged driving be detected?

On Behalf of | Sep 3, 2021 | DUI - Prescription Drugs |

Driving under the influence in Oklahoma is not restricted to alcohol. Being impaired by use of any chemical is illegal when behind the wheel, including prescription medications, and inebriation can assuredly be detected by trained officers who suspect intoxication of some type. Officers do not need an alcohol odor to request a suspect to perform a field sobriety test where they can inspect the driver’s mobility and eye movement under certain conditions. They can also request a warrant from a judge when the situation is serious, which can result in additional charges if contraband is found either in a vehicle or in the driver’s body system following a blood test.

Evidence evaluation

One element of a drug-based DUI charge is that the state does not have an official BAC report as evidence. Minus a blood test from a licensed testing facility, the only real evidence is the officer testimony. Oklahoma does have designated experts in drug impairment detection among the police force, but these officers may not be available to conduct the sobriety test. This can be a basis for a criminal defense strategy when an untrained officer conducts the field test.

Going to trial

When the only evidence is officer testimony, even when a certified drug detection officer conducts the evaluation, drugged DUI cases can be taken to trial for a full evaluation. Many people take drugs by prescription that produce half-life effectiveness with reduced impact after the primary effects wear off. Even with a blood test, the documentation from an analysis can be contested. There is no definitive level of assumed intoxication for drug impairment, and officer testimony can be questioned as well.

Never assume that a drugged driving charge automatically leads to a conviction. There are multiple scenarios in which someone could be cited for DUI and not be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.