Contrary to the beliefs of some, driving under the influence is not simply applicable to drunk driving, or driving while intoxicated; it can also be applicable to driving while under the influence of drugs. And this extends to not only illegal drugs, but some prescription medications as well, which can also impair a driver and causing a hazard for everyone on the roads.

Unlike drunk driving, which can more easily be determined though simple field sobriety tests and breathalyzers as we discussed in a recent blog post, determining whether one is impaired while under the influence of drugs is often more difficult to determine. Law enforcement has specially trained officers in certain jurisdictions called Drug Recognition Experts, who can administer a series of tests to help determine the impairment of a driver. Similar to drunk driving, law enforcement takes driving under the influence of drugs crimes very seriously.

Just like drunk driving, driving under the influence of drugs comes with many serious and potentially life-changing penalties if found guilty. In addition to stiff fines, loss of license and potential jail time, a criminal record often affects one’s ability to get certain jobs, and depending on the severity of the crime, may even affect where someone is able to live.

If you have been charged with such a crime, it is important to protect yourself and your future by going to court with a strong defense team which may be able to negotiate a favorable plea deal, or even get the case dismissed if certain technicalities or improper procedures were followed during the arrest.

Source: FindLaw, “Driving Under the Influence of Drugs,” accessed on Jan. 17, 2016