What to know about drugged driving charges

On Behalf of | Aug 2, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

As we have discussed in previous blog posts, driving under the influence of alcohol is not the only way someone could end up facing DWI charges. Driving with drugs in your system could also put you at risk of a DWI.

The rate of drugged driving is high

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, nearly 11.7 million people across the country admitted to driving while impaired by drugs in 2021. This impairment is not always comparable with alcohol. For example, alcohol is a depressant that slows your reaction time, whereas a stimulant like methamphetamines might lead you to speed or drive aggressively. The effect of these drugs often changes by the person as well.

Even so, the presence of controlled substances could result in DWI charges.

2 factors leading to drugged driving charges

Some people might wonder how they could face the risk of drugged driving charges. Like DWI charges involving alcohol, there are two common ways individuals could end up facing charges, including:

  1. Showing signs of impairment behind the wheel: As we briefly mentioned above, erratic driving, traffic violations and other reckless driving behaviors might indicate to police that someone is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The effects of stimulants can often make people believe they will be fine to drive, but the external signs of aggressive driving might prove otherwise, leading police to pull the driver over.
  2. Positive chemical tests: While breath tests might not often effectively detect drugs in someone’s system, other chemical tests can. With North Carolina’s implied consent laws in place, drivers arrested under suspicion of drunk or drugged driving must submit to chemical tests. The urine and blood tests conducted after the arrest are much more effective at detecting substances in one’s system – which increases the risk of DWI charges.

Anytime someone gets behind the wheel with impairing substances in their system, they could put themselves at risk of facing DWI charges. With the high rates of drugged driving across the nation, individuals must be wary of these risks.