An individual may be charged for driving under the influence of drugs if a law enforcement officer has a reason to suspect, based on articulable facts, that the person exhibits signs of impairment from the use of recreational drugs or controlled substances. If an individual wants to know more about West Palm Beach DUI drug laws, they should consult a knowledgeable DUI lawyer that could answer their questions.
What Kind of Substances Can Lead to a Drug DUI?
The different substances that can lead to a DUI charge are illegal substances or prescribed medication that is a controlled substance and may cause impairment. A prescription drug like an antibiotic does not cause impairment. However, a prescription drug for anti-anxiety, anti-depression, or pain can cause impairment. The authorities look for illegal drugs or controlled substances that can cause impairment.
Over-the-counter medications typically do not cause impairment. The active ingredient in Benadryl that would impair someone is alcohol and that is not a drug. A person cannot be charged with driving under the influence of Benadryl, but they can be charged with driving under the influence of alcohol which is contained in Benadryl. If a person takes Benadryl, the officer could smell alcohol on their breath, request a breath test and the person could test positive for alcohol. They could say it came from Benadryl, but there is still alcohol in Benadryl. Consuming any of the aforementioned substances and then driving is the primary way that people violate West Palm Beach DUI drug laws.
Ways Police Test for the Presence of Drugs
Following the alleged violation West Palm Beach DUI drug laws, law enforcement will often try to test the person for drugs. There are two ways the authorities test for the presence of drugs. The first is not scientific and the science behind it is not solid. A drug recognition expert (DRE) is a police officer who is trained to observe and detect signs of impairment that are generated from the use of drugs, prescribed medicine, or illegal narcotics. The drug recognition expert is called to the scene to perform a series of observations and tests that are different than those given for alcohol to give an opinion as to whether someone is under the influence of a controlled substance. That is probably the least effective way to test for the presence of drugs; however, it is a law enforcement tool that can be used to arrest someone.
The other way to prove that someone is under the influence of drugs is a chemical test of blood or urine. A blood test identifies the substance in someone’s blood at the time the test was taken. A urine test shows what was in someone’s system that is being eliminated from their system.When someone refuses to take a blood or urine test upon a lawful request made by a law enforcement officer, the penalties are the same as if the person refused the breath test if asked lawfully by a law enforcement officer.
Involuntary Intoxication as a Defense
Involuntary intoxication is rare. The defendant would have to prove they did not know they were impaired because they did not do anything to become impaired. When someone is at a bar and consumes a large number of alcoholic drinks, that is voluntary intoxication. If a person orders a drink in a bar, turns their back, and someone puts a pill on their drink, they may be able to prove through toxicology reports that someone poisoned them.
Even if the individual was unaware that the drug would impair them, the prosecutor would assert that the person who voluntarily took the drug must have known that the drug would do something to them. It is voluntary intoxication because they knew what they were doing the entire time.
Commonness of Drug Convictions
The state conviction rates are quite high. A conviction for drug charges depends on the facts of the case and whether the person had a blood test or urine test. If the government can prove someone was under the influence of drugs, they are going to be convicted.
Every case depends on the facts. If someone falls asleep in their car at a traffic light and a police discovered the person, woke them up, and found marijuana on the person, that is a solid case for prosecution. However, if there is no presence of marijuana on the person or in their car but a urine test shows the residue of marijuana consumed a considerable time previously, the person has a good chance to avoid a conviction for a drug charge. If an individual wants to know more about West Palm Beach DUI drug laws, they should speak with a skilled DUI drug lawyer that could help.