The crime of driving while intoxicated (DWI) in New York is not limited to alcohol: You can also be intoxicated by the effects of drugs, as well. Unfortunately, DWIs for drugs are problematic for a variety of reasons, not the least of which are the facts that police have no reliable way of determining whether you are under the influence of a drug and that you could face a DWI for using perfectly legal drugs.
Having a skilled DWI-defense attorney from Young and Young can be the best way to protect against a charge of DWI for drugs.
No Reliable Way to Detect Drugs for DWI
When a police officer suspects you of driving while drunk, they can initiate a traffic stop and request a breathalyzer. The results of the test will reveal an estimate of your blood alcohol content (BAC), which is a somewhat reliable way of determining how intoxicated you are.
For drugs, though, there is no BAC. Instead, police have to guess whether you are under the influence of drugs or not by interacting with you during the traffic stop. If you are nervous or intimidated by the police presence, they can interpret it as a sign of intoxication and arrest you for drugged driving. Only once the arrest has been made and you have been brought to the police station can they perform a blood draw for evidence of drugs in your system.
Prescription Drugs and DWIs
Importantly, it does not matter what kinds of drugs are in your system, for the purpose of a DWI charge. DWI is only concerned with whether the drug impairs your ability to drive. Even if the drug is perfectly legal for you to have – even if a doctor is telling you to use it, for your medical benefit – it can lead to a DWI if a police officer decides that it impairs your ability to drive safely. Prescriptions drugs or even over the counter medicine like allergy medication have triggered DWI charges, in the past.
DWIs for Marijuana
DWI charges for being impaired by the effects of marijuana are not uncommon. Even if you are taking the drug under New York's medical marijuana law, you can still face a charge of DWI if a police officer determines that you are too impaired to drive because of it. This determination, though, is made by the officer in isolation – without knowing who you are or how you interact with people when you are not stoned – and in the span of a few minutes.
DWI-Defense Attorneys at Young and Young Serve New York
Having the skills of the DWI-defense attorneys on your side if you have been charged with driving while drugged in New York can be the best way to prevent your charge from turning into a conviction. Contact us online or call our law office at (631) 224-7500 for the legal help you need.