Is It Possible to be Charged with DUI if you are Under the Influence of Drugs Other than Alcohol?

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Posted by Greg R. LaPapa

Is It Possible to be Charged with DUI if you are Under the Influence of Drugs Other than Alcohol?

Yes. Despite its common association with drunk driving, DUI stands for “driving under the influence,” not “driving while intoxicated.” As such, it refers to the charge a driver receives for endangering others by driving while under the influence of any type of substance, including legally prescribed drugs.

If you are charged with DUI, regardless whether you were actually impaired at the time of your arrest and the type of drug found in your system, if any, work with an experienced DUI defense lawyer to develop a solid legal defense strategy for your case. It is possible to fight a DUI charge and because of the steep penalties that come with this conviction, it is in your best interest to try.

How Drugs Other than Alcohol Can Impair a Driver

You are probably familiar with the ways alcohol can impair a driver. It lowers the driver’s inhibition, affects his or her perception, and slows his or her reaction time.

Other drugs can impair a driver in the following ways:

– Cocaine: Although cocaine can raise an individual’s energy level, it can also impair his or her ability to concentrate on driving. Individuals high on cocaine often take greater risks than those not under the influence and may become confused while driving, causing them to become hazards to themselves and others;

– Marijuana: Marijuana use makes it difficult to perceive time and distance, which is extremely dangerous for a driver. Marijuana can also make it easy for a driver to become distracted and slow his or her reaction time;

– Opiates: Opiate use can cause an individual to become drowsy and impair his or her vision; and

– Tranquilizers: As their name implies, tranquilizers such as Valium and Xanax can memory impairment, poor coordination, drowsiness, and impaired perception in their users.

Blood, Urine, and Breath Tests

Unlike alcohol, which can easily be quantified, it can be difficult to determine an individual’s impairment level through a drug test. One’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) can be determined with a breath sample. Levels of other types of drug must be measured with blood or urine tests.

These kinds of tests can identify the presence of drugs in an individual’s body days, even weeks after he or she used those substances. Because of this, they are not always good measures of impairment. However, you are required to comply with them if you are asked to complete one by law enforcement. Refusing to submit a chemical sample will result in a one-year driver’s license suspension, regardless of whether you were actually impaired or not.

Penalties for a DUI Conviction in Illinois

In Illinois, an individual should note the following information related to criminal penalties for DUI:

– A first DUI is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by one year of incarceration;

– The offender may be required to pay up to $2,500 in fines, which do not include court costs and surcharges, nor do they cover costs of completing terms of sentence, such as alcohol awareness courses or reinstatement process costs; and

– Convictions remain a factor in future DUI arrests. Indeed, there is no look back period, so no matter when you committed your first DUI, your next DUI arrest will be considered your second.

Furthermore, an individual should not the following information regarding administrative penalties, as well:

– A first DUI conviction will result in administrative license suspension of driving privileges for six months. If the driver violates implied consent laws, the license suspension stands at twelve months;

– The driver can challenge the license suspension via a petition to rescind summary suspension hearing; and

– License reinstatement entails a mandatory full suspension period of thirty days, with the possibility of serving the remainder of the suspension with a restricted license and an ignition interlock device.

These penalties become steeper with second and subsequent convictions, and are in addition to other administrative penalties, as well.

Work with an Experienced Schaumburg DUI Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with DUI, contact experienced a DUI defense lawyer today to schedule your initial consultation in our office. LaPapa Law Group can answer any questions you have and determine the right course of action for your case during your consultation.