Driving under the influence (DUI) charges are often handed to drunk drivers, but police officers can also hand out the charge against those impaired due to drugs.
Whether prescription or illegal drugs, any substance with intoxicating effects can affect your driving. If an officer has reason to believe you’re under the effects of one or two substances, they could ask you to participate in a roadside chemical test.
Drug use traced through blood tests
Using a portable blood testing setup, officers can check a sample of your blood to see if there are any drugs in your system. Officers can immediately charge you for DUI if your blood contains any of the following:
- 02 milligrams of cocaine per liter of blood
- 1 milligrams of methamphetamine per liter of blood
- 01 milligrams of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (Ecstasy) per liter of blood.
- 1 milligrams of phencyclidine (PCP) per liter of blood
While officers will look for traces of drug use in your blood, they can also charge you if you’re “visibly impaired.” If you show symptoms such as slurred speech, disorientation and difficulty standing and walking, an officer can slap you with a DUI.
Penalties for drug DUI
If you’re convicted of drug DUI, you can expect to face the same penalties as those convicted of drunk driving. You must pay a minimum fine of $250 for your first offense. A court will also suspend your driving privileges for a year, and officials might ask you to get a restricted license.
Getting a second offense within 10 years of the first leads to more severe penalties. A minimum $500 fine, a jail term of up to one year and officials will revoke your license will for three years.
Officials will immediately suspend your license on your third DUI conviction within 10 years. The offense is also upgraded to a criminal felony, and you’ll have to pay a minimum fine of $1,000. A court might also order you to serve a minimum 90-day jail term.
Drug DUI charges are as severe as DUI charges for drunk driving – and if an officer thinks you look impaired, they won’t even need a blood test to lay charges. If you feel that an officer wrongly charged you for taking medication, consider consulting a legal professional to understand your defense options in court.