Drug Use and DUI

By now, the specifics of alcohol-related DUIs are fairly cut and dry – what constitutes driving under the influence of alcohol, the legal limit and the consequences per offense. When we move to the realm of drug-related DUI, things get a little more complicated. In the state of Kansas, there is no perfect answer as to what is the legal limit of drug use while operating a motor vehicle. So it’s important to know your rights and the process law enforcement and the courts use when dealing with a DUI for drugs.

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If you’re pulled over

Drug-related DUIs have many similarities to DUIs for alcohol. The driver must be impaired to such a degree that they cannot safely operate a motor vehicle. Now, this is where it gets complicated. Typically, for alcohol, an officer would ask you to take a field sobriety test and possibly blow into the Intoxilyzer 8000, which, depending on whose opinion you ask, you may not want to consent to either. But these still give them a baseline to see if you’re over the legal limit of .08%. But when drugs come into play, there’s no such thing as .08%.

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What drugs can get you in trouble?

All of them if you’re too impaired to safely drive a vehicle. That includes everything from legal prescription drugs to illegal drugs, but, like we said before, it’s complicated. There’s no cut and dry answer for what’s legally over the limit. The officer simply has to feel that you’re impaired to the point that you cannot safely operate a motor vehicle. Now, depending on the specific case, additional charges could arise – like if you don’t have a valid prescription for that legal drug, which can be a felony in Kansas, or having your car searched and illegal drugs are found, etc.

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So How Can They Tell You’re Over the Limit?

Each drug is different and carries its own impairments. Technically, the only way they can determine the drug level in your body is with a urine or blood test. But often, they’ll dispatch a DRE or Drug Recognition Expert – a law enforcement officer who has advanced training to spot individuals who are impaired by drugs. This could then lead to a possible blood test or urine test. But the officer will need a warrant or your permission to take you in to test your blood or urine to determine your level of impairment. If they do secure a warrant or you give them your consent, the results of the test will be used as evidence of your impairment along with other things like slurred speech, bad driving, etc.

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What can you do?

Find a lawyer who specializes in DUI, especially those involving drugs. The ambiguity of these cases can lead to confusion, making an experienced legal expert your best bet in a case like this. Each case has its own unique qualities. A lawyer who knows the world of drug DUI, like Jonathan W. McConnell, can decipher every little aspect of the case for the best possible outcome.

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Jonathan W. McConnell Criminal Defense Attorney