Many people in Massachusetts fail to recognize that driving under the influence of drugs or drugged driving is just as bad as driving under the influence of alcohol, and both are illegal. Drugged driving is rapidly becoming a more frequent occurrence that driving under the influence of alcohol. According to a recent article by Fox25 News, there has been a 42% uptick in drugged driving over the past five years, compared to a 26% uptick in drunk driving cases over the same time period, based on data collected by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.
What is interesting about drugged driving in Massachusetts is that there is no legal limit for the level of drugs that can be in a person’s system when it comes to a drugged driving offense, unlike alcohol, where the legal limit in Massachusetts is a 0.08% blood alcohol concentration.
Drugged Driving is More Difficult to Detect Than Drunk Driving
Drugged driving and drunk driving are two states of driving that are unsafe and illegal. Yet drunk and drugged driving are more common than ever. While both drugged and drunk driving might cause drivers to be inattentive behind the wheel and may cause them to improperly operate their vehicle, it can be difficult for law enforcement to determine whether a driver is under the influence of drugs.
When a driver is under the influence of alcohol, there are a number of clues that a police officer can pick up on. The driver might have bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, could smell of alcohol, or there could be evidence of alcohol in the vehicle itself. A breathalyzer test could reveal a blood alcohol concentration that is above the legal limit, and a field sobriety test could identify drivers who are having coordination and balance problems, which are tell-tale signs of drunkenness.
On the other hand, someone who is on drugs could look just fine upon visual inspection by a police officer. Not only that, but if a suspected intoxicated driver is given a breathalyzer test, they will pass since a breathalyzer is only good for detecting the presence of alcohol on a test subject’s breath, and not for detecting the presence of drugs. Because of the inherent difficulties in detecting when a driver might be under the influence of drugs, certain law enforcement officers are being specifically trained to identify drugged drivers.
Contact a Massachusetts DUI Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if you are facing drug charges, you need to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately. OUI/DUI convictions carry serious penalties, so it is critical that you fight your charges with everything that you have got.