OPERATING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF DRUGS
July 24, 2019
For the general public, there seems to be a large cloud of confusion surrounding the topic of driving under the influence of drugs. It may not seem like it because driving high equals bad decisions, right? Maybe, but to be able to fully answer that question we first need to know what exactly high driving is. Does taking your medication that has been prescribed by a doctor count as high driving? It is very possible that it does. A signed prescription does not always save a person from receiving an OUI (Operating Under the Influence) criminal charge in the state of Connecticut.
An OUI can be given to those who are drunk, but for the purposes of this article I will be focusing on drugged driving. With prescription drugs being prescribed at an all-time high, other once-illegal drugs being legalized, and the taboo around those drugs lessening, driving under the influence of drugs is becoming a bigger concern. This means that cops are going to be even more diligent in their search of people driving high.
CONNECTICUT OUI PENALTIES
It is not necessary for you to have a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) score to be detained or arrested for OUI suspicion. As long as the officer has reason to believe you are driving impaired, that is enough for an OUI charge and why drugged driving is becoming more well known. The amount of drugs in your system at the time of a blood test cannot determine if you were driving impaired or not.
If you are charged with OUI, whether from a BAC test or the arresting officer’s judgment, there are strict penalties set in place. If it is your first offense, you may get up to six months in jail, a fine of $500-$1,000, a suspended license for 45 days, and one year with an ignition interlock device (IID). If you receive a second and third offense within 10 years of the first, your penalties will only increase and more time and money will be taken from you.
Even though these penalties seem pretty set in stone, there are ways to fight them. I am an experienced, West Haven-based DUI/OUI attorney who has helped people in these situations before. If you need a lawyer to help fight this, reach out to me today.
DRUGGED DRIVING IN CONNECTICUT
As cannabis is being legalized across the country, including for recreational purposes in our neighboring state of Massachusetts, access to it is easier than ever before. The same can also be said for prescription medication, as we can see from the unfortunate opioid epidemic that is sweeping the country.
Drugged driving is an issue. In 2016, a study done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed that 42% of tested drivers fatally wounded in a car accident had cannabis in their system. Of course, we can’t know if they were impaired at the time of their driving or not. We also unfortunately don’t know the effect of prescription drugs on these types of accidents. What we do know is that accidents and mistakes happen.
Whether you have taken drugs for recreational or medicinal purposes, you may be charged with an OUI. Whether it is because you didn’t know you were too impaired to drive or made a mistake, you shouldn't have to face the full penalties of an OUI — at least not without a fight. Drug laws are in a bit of a gray area in Connecticut and you need a lawyer who can help you sort them out.
I am a West Haven, Connecticut-based DUI/OUI attorney who will fight for you. If you have questions about your case, contact me today for more information.