Driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) is an issue because more and more people are being prescribed medication, as well as choosing to use illicit drugs. Using over-the-counter medicines that cause drowsiness, powerful narcotics obtained at pharmacies, and home-grown marijuana can all lead to a DUI charge.
Marijuana is a substance that, like alcohol, has been used by people for thousands of years, but is arguably safer and less addictive. Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia now allow patients and doctors to utilize cannabis in their treatment plans. Nearly half the states have decriminalized the adult possession of small amounts of marijuana. Eight states have legalized recreational use.
In Kentucky, possession of any amount of marijuana for any reason is still a crime, and those accused of driving under the influence of it can be charged with DUI.
The Commonwealth must prove actual impairment in a marijuana-related DUI prosecution. There is no equivalent of the per se 0.08 BAC for marijuana. This means that your attorney will need to know how much detectable THC in a person’s system is impairing. In an attempt to obtain a DUI conviction, the state may seek a sample of your blood to use against you. Urine is sometimes collected but this practice is becoming less and less common. Other methods of detecting and estimating THC content, like the saliva swab, have yet to come into widespread use.
If you have been charged with marijuana DUI let an attorney who knows that factors like your age, gender, body fat percentage, frequency of use, and potency of the marijuana strain itself ultimately determine the THC content of your blood, which, in turn, will be the key to proving your innocence.
Common misconceptions include that having a valid prescription from your doctor will somehow either 1) protect you from being charged with DUI, or 2) keep you from being convicted. Unfortunately, this isn’t always true. Even if your medications are prescribed by a physician for treatment of a diagnosed illness, this alone won’t insulate you from being charged with DUI.
Prescription drugs present unique problems, especially here in the Commonwealth where so many Kentuckians are prescribed them. Today, nearly 60% of all Americans take prescription drugs. People are also living longer than before, increasing the number of senior citizens on the road. Many of these drivers take multiple meds, some of which cause impairment, especially when mixed with alcohol.
For controlled substances like cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine, Kentucky has what is called a “zero tolerance” law, meaning that any amount of these drugs in your system can be enough to support a conviction. Without a prescription, medications like Xanax, hydrocodone, OxyContin, and diazepam are also subject to the zero tolerance law.
Drugged DUI is often accompanied by other charges like possession, paraphernalia, or trafficking. Let someone with real trial experience in both misdemeanor DUI and felony drug cases go to work for you today.