Driving under the influence refers to more than driving while drunk because alcohol is not the only substance capable of impairing Colorado drivers. Drugs, legal and illegal, could make someone dangerously incapable of operating a motor vehicle. Individuals arrested for driving under the influence of drugs might face serious consequences, so understanding the law as it relates to DUIs could help the accused seek appropriate counsel.
Issues surrounding a drug-related DUI
If the police see someone driving erratically, they may pull that person over under suspicion of a DUI. Drivers under the influence of drugs alone won’t have a BAC since they did not drink alcohol. The police will rely on other tests to determine if the driver is on drugs. If so, the driver could face charges. Jail time, fines, and other penalties are possible for those facing convictions.
Be mindful that someone could face DUI charges even when taking a legally prescribed drug. A person may have a legal prescription for Valium or Oxycontin, for example, but driving while impaired under such substances may lead to charges.
Defenses for drug-related DUIs
Defense strategies for a drug-oriented DUI vary depending on the specifics of the case. Was there probable cause to pull the vehicle over? If not, then the prosecutor’s case may fall apart.
One defense for a drug-related DUI involves showing that there were no drugs or insufficient amounts of drugs in the driver’s system. Someone could fail a drug test for taking a substance that remained in the system for days, such as marijuana, but they were not under the influence at the time of the arrest. A person’s driving and behavior could look like someone under the influence even when they are not impaired depending on their medical condition.
Drug use and DUIs could lead someone to face criminal charges and a loss of driving privileges. An attorney may be able to mount an appropriate defense or address plea bargain agreements.