Drug Related DUI
Driving under the influence – it’s not only alcohol that can get you charged
DUI-D – do you know what it is? Driving Under the Influence of Drugs – both legal and illegal drugs.
Throughout Pennsylvania, state and municipal police officers have made 47,000 DUI-D arrests since 2004. There were over 10,500 DUI-D arrests made in 2009 alone. This uptick in DUI-D arrests is due to law enforcement officers being trained as Drug Recognition Experts (DREs). There are now approximately 75 certified Pennsylvania DREs. When conducting a traffic stop or Pennsylvania car accident investigation, they are able to recognize those individuals who are drug impaired andidentify the drug.
If during a traffic stop a driver appears to be impaired, but their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) does not match the level of perceived impairment, drugs might be involved. Under this circumstance, a DRE officer will be consulted.
In addition to DUI-D arrests, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) records show that PA car accidents involving drivers who are suspected of being under the influence of drugs (any sort) are on the rise. In 2009 there were 451 PA car accidents and 25 PA car accident fatalities involving drivers suspected of being under the influence of any type of drug, which is an increase over 2008. In that year there were 381 PA car accidents and 21 PA car accident fatalities.
PA car accidents involving drivers under the influence of legal drugs rose from 74 in 2008 to 110 in 2009. “Drugs” could mean something as seemingly harmless as cold medicine to something as potent as pain killers. Furthermore, when mixed with alcohol driving while using drugs can have tragic results.
PennDOT reports that the drugs most frequently discovered during DRE assessment are:
- Xanax (Alprazolam)
- Klonopin (Clonazepam)
- Exycontin (Oxycodone)
- Vicodin (Hydrocodone)
We would hope that by now the general public is aware of the dangers of drinking and driving, as well as the ways in which the penalties for the crime could greatly upset one’s life and career. However, we may not think about the effect our prescribed medications can have upon our ability to drive coherently. The Drug Recognition Expert program is another example of the ways in which PA law enforcement aims to get impaired drivers off the roads.
If you have been charged with a DUI or DUI-D, call Bucks County DUI lawyer Michael L. Saile, Jr. You have rights; learn what they are.