Driving Under the Influence

Going out to celebrate may result in poor choices. One of the worst decisions a person can make is driving after consuming a few drinks. Driving under the influence may mean different things depending on where you live. For the most part, it means that you are caught operating a vehicle when you have a chemical in your body that may inhibit your reflexes and judgment. Doing so may cause catastrophic outcomes in the form of vehicular accidents. Take a look at what may be covered under a driving under the influence charge.

Drinking Alcohol

The most common DUI charge stems from drinking alcohol. It is important to note that the laws where you live may call this something else, including driving while intoxicated or operating while intoxicated. However, the underlying element of the crime is consuming alcohol in an amount that sends your blood alcohol content above .08 — the level at which federal law says you can no longer safely operate a vehicle. When an officer pulls you over, it is because you have committed a traffic infraction. During the investigation, they may believe you have been drinking, and aside from administering field sobriety testing, you may be asked to take a breathalyzer or blood test to measure the level of intoxication and prove their case.

Taking Prescription Medication

Prescription medication often comes with side effects. These side effects may make it unsafe to operate a motor vehicle. Drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion may result from taking some of these legal drugs. You may exhibit behaviors similar to being under the influence of alcohol. While an officer cannot measure your breath for prescription medication, if you admit you’ve taken it or have it on your person, an officer may use this evidence to build the case that you were driving under the influence. A blood test may confirm the officer’s suspicions.

Using Illegal Drugs

Illegal drugs, such as marijuana, meth, or prescription drugs that are not meant for you, may result in criminal charges. If an officer sees you driving erratically or exhibiting physical signs of being under the influence, a blood test may be warranted. While there has been some progress on a breath test that detects drugs, there is nothing standard used. However, much like prescription drugs, using illegal drugs may make it difficult for you to drive, communicate with the police, or function at all. If a police officer has enough physical evidence of your impairment, you can get arrested.

Should you find yourself dealing with a traffic stop after indulging in a substance that can cause impairment, you may want help. A DWI lawyer, like a DWI lawyer in DC, is familiar with the way the law works and may be able to assist in building your case.

Thanks to The Lawfirm of Frederick J. Brynn, P.C., for their insight into the legal definition of “driving under the influence.”