While aspects of drug DUI cases and alcohol-related DUIs are different, they are similar in that the state needs to prove that a person was driving under the influence of controlled substances to the extent that their normal faculties were impaired. As it stands now, there is no official level or quantity of drugs in a person’s system that defines impairment. They just need to prove the presence of the drugs and other signs of impairment and argue that the impairment comes from the drug that they found in the person’s system. Proving impairment in a West Palm Beach DUI drug case is the main element that the prosecution may rest their argument on. If you have been charged with a drug DUI, consult a knowledgeable drug DUI lawyer that could attempt to disprove impairment in your case.
Signs of Impairment
When proving impairment in a West Palm Beach DUI drug case, there are certain signs that law enforcement often looks for. For example, the police might look at someone’s eyes. Instead of being red and glassy, the pupils might be dilated or constricted in the case of a drug DUI. The person may have some rapid eye movement. The person is not going to have an odor of a drug on their breath unless it is marijuana and they recently consumed or smoked it, so there might not be any odor of alcohol to go with a drug case if that person was not drinking.
Also, a person’s character will be different. One knows when a person is drunk. One does not necessarily know when they are high or on painkillers or anti-depressants. There are different symptoms that these trained officers are looking for. A normal person could see that a person might not be acting correctly or sober. Not only do they look for eyes and for mood swings, they look for inability to focus attention. A person may be very sleepy and drowsy as opposed to acting silly and drunk. Those are some of the signs of impairment that law enforcement might be looking for.
How Proving DUIs Differs From Proving Drug DUIs
Someone under the influence of drugs can act similar to someone under the influence of alcohol, but it can also be different. Usually when proving impairment in a West Palm Beach DUI drug case, one would need to have one of two things. One would either need to have a chemical test either of a person’s blood or urine or show that they are currently using or recently consumed the drugs.
Drug recognition experts have been trained to look for suspects that might be under the influence of drugs as opposed to alcohol. They are trained to perform and administer different tasks to a person whom they suspect is under the influence of drugs.
They are different from the tests that are given to someone who is assumed to be under the influence of alcohol. Proving that a driver was operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs may involve different types of tests, tasks, or observations that are made for drugs than they would be for alcohol or someone drunk. Simply put, it is obvious when someone is drunk; it may not be as obvious when someone is under the influence of drugs.
Common Defense Strategies
The most common strategy used in a legal defense for someone accused of being impaired by drugs while driving is that the state or the government cannot prove when a client consumed drugs or the controlled substances unless there is an admission. If a person passes a breath test but tests positive for marijuana, lawyers would argue that the government cannot prove it unless they found marijuana in the car, they smelled marijuana in the car, or the person admitted to recently smoking marijuana.
Many people in society take medications for one thing or another. For example, someone may take a sleep medication like Xanax or anti-anxiety medication to sleep. They take it at night, perhaps at six or seven o’clock at night after dinner before they go to bed and they go sleep. They wake up in the morning and they feel fine and go to work. If they get into an accident and their urine is tested, the residual levels from those drugs will still be in a person’s urine. If a person takes medication, it is going to be in the person’s urine. Just because it is in the person’s urine does not mean the person is under the influence of it.
Lawyers argue that urine tests that are positive for controlled substances or illegal narcotics are not indicative that a person was impaired by those controlled substances or illegal narcotics at that time. The reason is they do not know when the person consumed the controlled substances or illegal narcotics, they do not know how much they consumed of the controlled substances or illegal narcotics, and urine is a waste product, meaning it has already been eliminated from the body. Since it has already been eliminated from blood, a person is not impaired by it. If an individual wants to know more about proving impairment in a West Palm Beach DUI drug case, they should consult a skilled drug lawyer that can answer their questions.