When individuals hear “DWI” they immediately think of drunk driving. It is true that the consumption of alcohol is a factor in most DWI cases. However, it is critical to know that these criminal charges do not always involve alcohol.
Drugged driving is still impaired driving
The definition of a DWI is driving a vehicle while impaired – this does not specifically mean impaired by alcohol. Any substance could lead to impairment, including drugs. Drugged driving falls under the category of DWI.
While the traffic stop may differ slightly, breath tests can frequently detect drugs accurately. Additionally, police officers can issue orders for chemical drug tests after the arrest. In these cases, implied consent rules still apply. If drivers refuse a chemical test then they could face license revocation.
The penalties are still the same
Drugged driving is a DWI. So, the penalties are generally the same regarding potential fines and jail time. However, every case is different and depends on the factors of the situation.
There are two risks in particular to consider in DWIs involving controlled substances:
- Aggravating factors: Excessive speeding and reckless behavior behind the wheel can lead to higher penalties for any kind of DWI charges, whether they involve alcohol or controlled substances.
- Possession charges: If police find drugs on your person or in your vehicle, then you could face possession charges – or trafficking charges, depending on the amount – in addition to a DWI.
Getting behind the wheel impaired in any form could lead to serious criminal charges. It is important for drivers to be aware of all of these risks – and the consequences they could have for their futures.