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Drugged driving charges: More common than you realize

While it is easy to focus on drug charges like possession or distribution, there is another type of drug charge that some people might face — drugged driving. This crime is similar to drunk driving, but involves drugs instead of alcohol as the reason for the impairment that prevents a person from driving safely.

Drugged driving charges can be the result of multiple types of drugs. In all of these cases, the driver must be impaired to the point that it affects the person's ability to drive. Here are some important things to know about drugged driving charges:

It's not always illegal drugs

Illegal drugs are only one type of drug that can lead to allegations of drugged driving. You can even face this charge if you are taking prescriptions or over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Many of these have dizziness and drowsiness as side-effects. Taking either OTC or prescribed medicines can make it unsafe for some people to drive.

Many sinus, allergy and pain relievers can all adversely affect your ability to operate a motor vehicle. Other drugs might have the same effects. For example, some people have trouble with double vision or dizziness when they take blood pressure medications.

Difficulties with testing

When a person is stopped for drunk driving, the breath test can determine the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) percentage. There isn't any test that accurately measures drug impairment, however. Instead, these cases rely heavily on observations from the officer who stops the driver, as well as statements from the suspected impaired driver. Even when there are blood tests available for a drug, such as THC testing for marijuana, these aren't accurate for the purpose of determining if a person was impaired by the drug while they were driving. Drugs remain detectable in the system long after the effects of them wear off.

Prevention is the key

The best way to ensure that you don't have to deal with this type of charge is to determine how any medication is going to impact you before you drive. Figuring out what effects a drug will have on you isn't always easy, so you might have to take a dose or two before you can figure out if you are safely able to drive.

If something happens and you end up facing drugged driving charges, you need to meet those charges head on by getting to work quickly on your defense strategy. These cases might be complex so be prepared to do some work on them.

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