Thursday, November 8, 2012

Boise DUI Attorneys - Idaho Criminal Law Lawyers (208) 472-2383

DUI and Drugs in Idaho
I have spoken before in this blog about how a charge for DUI can relate to alcohol consumption or, alternatively,  may have nothing to do with it.  Today, I want to discuss the anatomy of a DUI related to driving under the influence of drugs. 

As a Boise DUI Attorney I often see cases involving DUI due to operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs.  People have a lot of questions when it comes to this type of case.  First, how does the arresting officer know you are under the influence of drugs and how do they test you?  This is a very good question.   The process is almost identical to a stop and arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol.  As you may know from previous DUI blogs I have written, in order to be pulled over the police must have probable cause.  This can be anything that gives them a good suspicion that something is happening in your vehicle that is impairing your driving or a blatant violation of driving laws.  If you have taken drugs and are impaired your driving may be sketchy.  You may weave in and out of your lane, you may run a red light, you may drive the wrong way on a one way street and the list goes on.  Once you are pulled over, the police will look for signs of alcohol or drug consumption.  They will perform field sobriety tests, they may ask to search your car (always say no - you do not have to consent to a search) and they may take a breathalyzer test. If you haven't consumed alcohol the breathalyzer will obviously be negative but this doesn't prevent the police from arresting you if you are obviously impaired.  At this point they will order a blood test to determine the presence of drugs in your system.

Does the presence, no matter how slight, of drugs in your system mean that you will be convicted of a DUI?
As a Boise DUI Lawyer, this is the net biggest question people are curious about in these types of cases. Unlike alcohol, there is no legal limit for drugs in your system.  The blood test will simply reveal a positive or a negative result. 

Illegal Drugs vs. Over the Counter and Prescription Medication 
There isn't a simple answer to this question but there are certain considerations which need to be examined.  The first question is, "are the drugs in your system illegal drugs?"  If it is the case you are under the influence of marijuana, meth, cocaine or any other controlled substance, it does not matter how much there is in your system.  You will be charged with a DUI and if pursuant to the traffic stop, any illegal drugs were found, you will also be charged with possession and potential trafficking, depending upon how much was found.  The reason for this is simple; it is illegal to be in possession and to consume illegal drugs.

The more difficult question to answer for DUI attorneys is, "what if the drugs in your system were over the counter drugs or drugs prescribed by a physician?"  It is not illegal to drive with these types of drugs in your system, but it can become illegal and an issue of intoxication if the amount you have in your system impairs your driving.  In fact, if you are under the influence of these types of drugs when you are pulled over, it is likely that you will volunteer the information that you are taking certain medications to the police officer.  But, will you be charged with a DUI? 

These cases turn on the specifics of each case.  For example, if you were prescribed hydrocodone and you were taking it according to your physician's directions and had been taking it for a few weeks and were used to how it effected you, you might have your charged reduced to reckless or inattentive driving or even failure to use a traffic signal, depending upon the under lying cause for the traffic stop.  If, however, you consumed excessive amounts of the hydrocodone, meaning way more than you were prescribed, and you were pulled over because you were speeding while going the wrong way on the freeway the chances that you will get a DUI are high.

If you have been charged with a driving under the influence and you need to speak to a Boise DUI Attorney, please give us a call at 208-472-2383 and see what we can do for you.

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