A common misconception that many drivers harbor is that you can only get slapped with a DUI charge after a night drinking at a bar or party. However, the truth is that police officers can give you a DUI for driving under the influence of illegal, and legal, drugs as well.
With alcohol-related DUIs, a blood-alcohol test can be administered that determines a suspect's blood-alcohol content level. Police often use the results of these tests to determine if a DUI arrest should be made. However, the issue isn't as black and white when drug impairment is suspected.
Drug-Related DUIs Getting More Common In Pennsylvania
The American Automobile Association reported that last year there were over 53,000 arrests for DUI in Pennsylvania and half of these cases involved either drugs and alcohol or drugs alone, a local news station reported.
The arrests don't just involve drivers allegedly impaired from the use of illicit drugs like marijuana, cocaine, and ecstasy. In fact, Scott Davis, who serves as the Pennsylvania State Police's Drug Recognition Expert Coordinator, reported that the majority of these drivers are accused of being impaired from legal prescription drugs.
Davis emphasized that police departments are attempting to teach officers how to properly look for and identify signs of impairment. These police officers already know how to identify the signs of alcohol impairment, but many are not as well-versed in the identification of impairment from the use of other drugs.
Davis expects the number of people facing DUI charges to increase as police officers become more adept at identifying drug impairment in drivers. He also expects that drug-related DUI arrests will get more common with time, especially since recreational marijuana is becoming legal in many states.
Consult A Lawyer If You Are Accused Of Drugged Driving
At the moment, there are over 170 Drug Recognition Experts in the state of Pennsylvania. If a police officer suspects that a driver is impaired from a drug other than alcohol, they are supposed to call a Drug Recognition Expert to the scene to access the situation at hand.
However, this does not always happen, and sometimes officers who are untrained to identify whether or not someone is under the influence of drugs are making DUI arrests. Because drug-related DUIs are still far from black and white, it's extremely important to consult a lawyer after being charged.