In every state, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal, even for medical marijuana users. In fact, there are a number of perfectly legal prescription drugs that can impair your driving. If they do, you should not drive while using those drugs. You can get a DUI for driving on any drug that impairs you.
Did you know that drugged driving appears to be on the rise? This may not surprise you, considering that many states, including Florida, have legalized marijuana for at least medical purposes. However, drugged driving overall, not just that involving cannabis, is up.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 25% of fatally injured drivers tested positive for drugs in 2007, while 8% tested positive for marijuana. In 2016, the percentage for drugs overall rose to 42% and 18% for marijuana.
Which drugs are people using most? Based on confirmed toxicology results after enforcement evaluations by drug recognition experts in 2017, marijuana was the most common drug found in drivers at 38%.
It may surprise you to learn, however, that the second most common category was “poly drug,” or people who were using more than one drug. That category accounted for 37% of drivers. The percentage of drivers using other drugs came out as follows:
- Stimulants, such as cocaine or methamphetamine – 31%
- Depressants, such as benzodiazepines or barbiturates – 29%
- Narcotic painkillers, such as OxyContin or Vicodin – 28%
- Dissociative anesthetics, such as Ketamine or PCP – 2%
- Inhalants, such as aerosols, gases, nitrites or solvents – 1%
- Hallucinogens, such as magic mushrooms or LSD – 1%
It’s important to understand that any illegal drug (and some legal drugs) can impair you, even if they are addressing real symptoms or make you feel good. Stimulants, for example, can give you a false sense of invincibility, leading to more aggressive driving.
Have you been arrested for DUI due to drug use?
Depending on your situation, there may be real options in your case. An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to help you reduce the charges against you, get the charges dismissed or attempt to lessen the penalties and other consequences. Or, you can fight your charges in court.