Drugged Driving in Idaho
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF DRUGS
People driving while on drugs is a growing problem in Idaho. According to the Idaho Office of Highway Safety, 8% of all drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2018 tested positive for drugs. This statistic is up from 6% in 2017.
Marijuana was the most common drug found, followed by methamphetamine and prescription drugs.
Driving while under the influence of drugs is dangerous and puts everyone on the road at risk.
Idaho is one of the few states that don’t have a particular drug DUI law.
However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t be arrested and charged with a DUI if you’re caught driving under the influence of drugs. If you are pulled over and an officer suspects you are impaired, they can arrest you and charge you with a DUI.
WHAT DRIVERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DRUG DUI'S
There are a few things that Boise drivers need to know about a drug DUI in Idaho:
1. You can be arrested for a DUI even if you’re not under the influence of alcohol. A Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) is a specially trained law enforcement officer who is able to identify drivers who are impaired by drugs. DRE’s receive special training in drug evaluation and can administer a series of field sobriety tests to determine if a driver is impaired. If a DRE concludes that a driver is impaired by drugs, they will be arrested and charged with a DUI.
2. If you refuse to submit to a breath or chemical test, you will automatically be charged with a DUI and your driving privileges will be automatically suspended for one (1) year.
3. A DUI conviction can result in jail time, a suspended license, and steep fines.
4. If you are convicted of a drug DUI, you will be required to attend an drug education or treatment program.
PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION DUI
If you have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI) of prescription medication, you may be feeling scared and alone. After all, most people think of alcohol when they hear the term “DUI.” But in recent years, DUIs involving drugs—both illegal and prescription—have become more and more common.
If you find yourself in this situation, it is important to remember that you are not alone. An experienced DUI attorney can help you fight the charges against you and protect your rights.
A prescription medication DUI is just like any other DUI—it occurs when someone is driving under the influence of a drug. The difference is that the drug in question is a prescription medication.
Most people take prescription medications without any problems. But some drugs can cause drugged driving, which means the side effects of the drug make it unsafe to drive. These side effects can include drowsiness, impaired coordination, and slowed reaction time, all of which make you vulnerable to DUI charges. If you are taking a medication that causes these kinds of side effects, it is important to be aware of the risks before getting behind the wheel.
Of course, not all prescriptions drugs are created equal. Some are much more likely to cause impairment than others. And even drugs that normally don’t cause problems can be dangerous if they are combined with alcohol or other drugs.
EVEN COLD AND ALLERGY MEDICINES CAN CAUSE PROBLEMS
It’s not just illegal drugs that can impair your driving. Many common cold and allergy medicines contain ingredients that can cause drowsiness, blurred vision, and other problems with the central nervous system. And some medicines shouldn’t be combined with alcohol. So it’s important to read labels carefully and talk to your doctor or pharmacist about possible side effects before you take any medicine, especially if you’re planning to drive.
COMMON MEDICINES THAT CAN CAUSE DUI CHARGES INCLUDE:
Cold and allergy medicines that contain antihistamines. Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines that contain antihistamines can cause drowsiness and may impair your ability to drive. DUI laws are written to include impairment from all drugs, both legal and illegal, as well as alcohol. If a police officer believes your driving has been impaired by any substance, including cold or allergy medicine, you can be arrested for drugged driving.
SLEEP AIDS SUCH AS AMBIEN ARE LINKED TO DUI CHARGES
DUI laws are constantly evolving, and one of the latest trends is the increased focus on drugged driving. In particular, sleep aids such as Ambien are becoming a major concern for law enforcement.
While Ambien is legal and prescribed by doctors, it can have serious side effects if used improperly. One of the most dangerous side effects is that it can cause people to drive while under the influence of the drug.
This has led to a sharp increase in DUI arrests involving Ambien. In fact, data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that there was a nearly 400% increase in the number of Ambien-related DUI arrests between 2005 and 2009.
If you’re taking any of these medicines, be sure to follow the directions on the label carefully. And don’t drink alcohol while you’re taking them. Even a small amount of alcohol can make the side effects worse.
TESTING POSITIVE FOR A DRUG DOESN'T MEAN YOU'LL BE FOUND GUILTY
Testing positive for a drug doesn’t automatically mean you’ll be found guilty of driving under the influence of drugs. In fact, there are a number of factors that can contribute to a false positive drug test. There are many factors that go into a DUI charge, and the mere presence of a drug in your system is not enough to convict you.
That being said, if you are pulled over and suspected of DUI, the police officer may request a blood or urine test in order to determine what substances are in your system. If you test positive for a prescription medication, the next step will be to investigate whether or not that medication affected your ability to drive.
But there are many variables that can affect how a particular drug will affect an individual. Some of these include:
– The amount of the drug in your system
– The potency of the drug
– Whether or not you are tolerant to the effects of the drug
– How the drug interacts with other substances in your system
– Your own personal physiology
Because of all of these variables, it is impossible to say for sure whether or not a particular prescription medication will cause impairment. However, there are some general guidelines that can be helpful in determining whether or not a medication is likely to cause problems.
For example, some drugs – such as sleep aids – can cause drowsiness and impair your ability to drive. Other drugs – such as painkillers – can affect your judgment and reaction time. Still others – such as anti-anxiety medications – can cause dizziness and make it difficult to focus on the task of driving.
If you are taking any medication – prescription or otherwise – that has the potential to affect your ability to drive, it is important to take precautions. Make sure you understand how the drug will affect you and be sure to avoid driving if you are feeling any effects that could impair your ability to drive safely.
Of course, even if you take all of these precautions, there is always the possibility that you could be charged with DUI if you test positive for a prescription medication. If this happens, it is important to consult with an experienced DUI defense attorney who can help you fight the charges and protect your rights.
PENALTIES FOR DRUG DUI'S ARE THE SAME AS ALCOHOL DUI'S
The penalties for driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) are the same as the penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). A DUID is a serious offense that can result in jail time, fines, and a license suspension. If you are convicted of a DUID, you will be required to complete a drug education program and may be ordered to undergo drug treatment. You may also be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.
DONT PLEAD GUILTY TO A DUID IN IDAHO
If you are facing a prescription medication or over the counter DUI in Idaho, it is important to know that pleading guilty is not your only option. There may be defenses available to you that can help you avoid a conviction and the harsh penalties that come with it. An experienced Boise DUI attorney will be able to review your case and determine what defenses may be applicable to your situation.
Some of the most common defenses to a drug driving charge in Idaho include:
The stop was illegal – If the arresting officer did not have probable cause for stopping you, any evidence they obtained as a result of the stop may not be admissible in court. This could lead to the dismissal of your criminal charges.
You were not actually driving – In order to convict you under Idaho laws, the prosecution must be able to prove that you were actually driving the vehicle. If they cannot do this, then you cannot be convicted.
The field sobriety tests or blood draw were not accurate – The Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) was poorly trained, failed to follow protocol with the evidence gathered regarding the intoxicating substance. DRE reports are notoriously unreliable as they are highly subjective. If your attorney can show reasonable cause that the tests were not conducted properly or that they produce unreliable results, then your charges may be reduced or dismissed.
These are just some of the possible defenses to a Boise DUI. Drug cases require an aggressive defense attorney who can review your case and determine what defenses may be available to you.