When you think about driving under the influence of a substance, alcohol may be the first thing that comes to mind. This isn’t surprising since drunk driving is a serious issue across the country. However, in Oregon, driving under the influence of intoxicants isn’t limited to alcohol. If you drive while impaired by weed, narcotics, illegal drugs or even some prescription drugs, you’re committing a crime. Even some types of cold medicines could cause you to be charged with DUI. If the police charge you with intoxicated driving even though you didn’t drink anything, it’s not a bogus charge.
The Governors Highway Safety Association found that in 2016, 43.6 percent of drivers who were fatally injured tested positive for drugs. Half of them were positive for two or more substances. Drugs can reduce judgment, depth perception, coordination and reaction time. These are all skills that need to be sharp when you’re driving. However, if you take cocaine or methamphetamines and get behind the wheel, you may be more reckless or aggressive. If you’re on opioids for pain, you may get dizzy or drowsy. Even marijuana can make drivers distracted or cause them to react more slowly to stimuli. If you’re caught driving with any drugs in your system, you need to contact a Portland, Oregon DUI defense law firm for assistance.
Understanding Drugged Driving
Under Oregon’s laws, you can be charged with driving while under the influence of intoxicants if:
- You operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher
- You operate a vehicle while under the influence of one or more intoxicants
In 2017, 12.8 million people reportedly drove while under the influence of illegal drugs. Marijuana is the drug most likely to be found in drivers’ systems after a crash, but prescription drugs are also common. In addition, men are more likely to drive under the influence of men than women.
While there’s a standard legal limit for drivers’ BAC, there is no standard for drugged driving. That’s because drugs affect every individual differently. There’s also no threshold for determining whether the amount of a substance in someone’s system is legal or not. The police have to determine whether the drugs are affecting the person’s ability to drive. This means the driver must show signs of impairment for the police to arrest them. If officers arrest you, you need to contact a DUI attorney in Portland as soon as possible.
How Drugged Driving Is Detected
There is still no systemic approach or scientifically approved method of proving someone is impaired by drugs. If a driver is behaving erratically, the first thing an officer will likely do is test for alcohol intoxication. If an in-field breath test shows the person to be alcohol-free, the officer will consider other drugs. The driver will, therefore, have to take a blood or urine test.
It’s difficult to know many crashes drugged driving causes. There are many reasons for this. For example:
- There are no good roadside tests for detecting drug levels.
- Some drugs can remain in the body for days or weeks after use. This means it’s difficult to know when the drug was used and if it impaired driving.
- Police don’t typically test for drugs if a driver’s blood alcohol concentration is over the legal limit.
- Drivers who cause crashes often have alcohol and drugs or multiple drugs in their bodies. This makes it hard to know which substance affected them most.
Penalties for Drugged Drivers in Portland
Whether your driving was impaired by alcohol or another substance, the DUII penalties are the same. Your license will be suspended for 90 days and you may have to pay some fees even before you’re convicted. Upon conviction, your license may be suspended for a year. You’ll have to pay up to $10,000 in fines and you could depend up to a year in jail. Community service is also an option. You will need a DUI lawyer to help you fight both the criminal and administrative penalties.
Contact the Trilogy Law Group Today if You’ve Been Charged with DUI
Driving while under the influence of any type of intoxicant puts all road users at risk. If you use drugs or alcohol, you need to ensure you don’t get behind the wheel when you’re intoxicated. You should also encourage your friends to do likewise. If you’re heading to a party, make sure there’s a designated driver. If police have already charged you with a DUII, contact the Portland DUI lawyers at Trilogy Law Group to discuss your case. We can help to secure the best outcome.