Don’t drink and drive. You know the drill, right? Well, there are more ways to get a DUI than tossing back one (or a few) too many drinks before getting behind the wheel. Here’s how to get a DUI—and it’s easier than you think.
While many DUI charges are related to conventional drinking-and-driving incidents, there are other situations in which excess alcohol can trigger charges.
In Pennsylvania, for example, police can charge you with DUI if you’re sleeping in the car while under the influence. If you fall asleep in a parking lot with the keys in the ignition or with the engine running, officers will use circumstantial evidence to try to establish you had driven or intended to drive while intoxicated.
You don’t need to be behind a car wheel to get a DUI charge in PA either. It’s also possible to be charged if you’re, say, riding a lawn mower or behind the reins of a buggy while intoxicated.
When you hear the term drugged driving, you might imagine someone who’s under the influence of a substance like marijuana or heroin.
But lawfully prescribed drugs can impair the ability to drive, too, which can lead to a Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID) charge. In Pennsylvania, drugged driving is treated much like drunk driving. If you’re suspected of driving under the influence of a prescription drug, you will be charged as if you had the highest blood alcohol content (BAC) level, even if no alcohol was involved in the incident.
Common prescription drugs linked to DUID include:
Some over-the-counter medications can lead to DUID charges as well. Drivers have been convicted for driving while impaired by antihistamines, decongestants, and sleeping pills. Learn more in Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID).
Police officers are trained to identify the signs of drugged driving. They’ll then use blood tests to detect suspected drugs or their byproducts.
Marijuana and Other Illegal Drugs
In Pennsylvania, you can be charged with DUID if an officer believes your driving is impaired and your blood contains at least 5 nanograms per milliliter of marijuana.
The challenge is that metabolites from marijuana linger in the body’s cells for up to 30 days in casual users. The compounds remain in the body up to two months in heavy users, a group that could potentially include Pennsylvania residents who will use medical marijuana when it becomes available in 2018. In short, officers can charge you with DUID even if you haven’t used the drug in weeks or months.
Other illegal drugs, like heroin, ecstasy, and methamphetamines, can lead to charges, too, regardless of whether you’ve been drinking alcohol.
As with prescription medications, police will combine their own trained observations with blood tests to assess whether drugs have impaired driving.
Charged with DUI?
If you’ve learned how to get a DUI firsthand, defend yourself against a conviction with an experienced Lancaster, PA attorney. Mark Walmer will work to defend and protect your rights. Contact our office.