Many people falsely believe that alcohol is the only substance that can lead to an impaired driving charge. It is possible for a driver to face this type of charge if they are impaired by other substances, including street drugs, over-the-counter medicines and prescription medications.
The key factor in all of these cases it that the substance reduced your ability to drive safely. You have to be able to pay attention to the road and react appropriately to hazards and obstacles. When anything slows down your reaction time or takes away your ability to concentrate, you might face criminal charges.
Some of the common side effects of drugs that might signal it isn’t safe to drive after taking them include:
- Blurred vision
- Nausea or vomiting
It is more difficult for police officers to prove impairment when the substance is something other than alcohol. With alcohol, they can do a blood alcohol concentration test to determine how much alcohol is in your system. Since alcohol leaves the body fairly quickly, the test is highly reliable for figuring out a person’s impairment level.
Drugs and medications don’t leave the body as fast as alcohol. You can test positive for some drugs long after the effects have worn off, which means that tests aren’t as reliable. Instead of relying on these tests, officers rely heavily on signs of impairment, such as those demonstrated during field sobriety tests.
Working on a defense for these charges is often a complex undertaking. Thinking about your options might help you to decide on a course of option.