How Do Police Test for Drugged Driving?
Drugged driving is becoming a more serious concern across America after more states legalized recreational marijuana. The issue of drugged driving is a complicated one because there is no simple and straightforward test as in the case of drunk driving.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 11.8 million people drove while under the influence of illicit drugs in 2016. These illicit drugs include opioids, cocaine, and marijuana.
Drugged driving in Georgia is defined as being under the influence of any kind of drug. The tests cannot identify which drug was taken. It’s illegal for a driver to have any drugs in his or her systems.
This can be complicated. For instance, the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), in marijuana can show up in a blood test for up to 30 days after taking the drug. It’s questionable whether the suspect is still driving under the influence of the drug a month later.
If you are suspected of driving under the influence of drugs, police may administer a drugged DUI test. This test involves the use of a small oral test stick that collects oral fluids from the tongue.
You may undergo a second test if results prove positive. The police send the results to the lab.
Police may also ask a drugged driving suspect to take a blood test if they believe he or she was driving under the influence of illicit or prescribed drugs.
Georgia’s Drugged Driving Laws Are Wide
Georgia’s drugged driving laws are very wide in their scope. Under Georgia law, you can be charged if you are driving under the influence of an illicit or a prescribed drug. The law states:
“A person shall not drive while under the influence of any drug to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive; a person shall not drive under the influence of a combination of substances (i.e. drugs and alcohol) to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive; a person cannot be under the influence of prescription drugs, even if a drug or drugs are prescribed legally.”
What are the Penalties for Drugged Driving in Georgia?
The lack of a specific limit means you can be charged if just small amounts of drugs are found in your system.
Penalties for a first-time DUI drug offender include at least 24 hours in jail, over $300 in fines, attending DUI school, a year of probation, and a clinical evaluation. This is a complicated offense. Your driver’s license may also be suspended.
Often defendants are not aware of their rights in drugged driving cases in Georgia. You should contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible at (404) 913-1529.