An update on drugged driving charges and investigative techniques
Drugged driving is the new hot-button issue among law enforcement officials. It is widely believed (with scant scientific evidence) that wider acceptance of marijuana will lead to higher rates of drugged driving. While the connection seems, logical there are few scientific studies to support this position (partially because this area of study is relatively new but more concrete data is expected in the next few years). Law enforcement is concerned because they lack the investigative tools to confront drugged driving.
Drugged driving is the operation of a vehicle while under the influence of drugs. Drugged driving can be charged if you are under the influence of legal or illegal drugs. You can be charged even if you are prescribed the drug, so long as it impairs your ability to operate a vehicle safely.
Thus far, the police do not have reliable breathalyzers or other field tools to measure intoxication scientifically. The advantage is that you don’t need to challenge the validity of hard scientific numbers. But, the disadvantage is that the officer relies on his perception of you and that is open to broad interpretation. In some situations, it could result in an arrest and others you might be let go. It is a recipe for the unfair application of the law.
The concern for these charges is that they are so poorly understood and lack standard investigative techniques that you are left to the whims of the officer and prosecutor. Some discretion is always available but too much leads to the unfair application of the law. If you are charged with a crime, you may want to speak to a defense attorney. A lawyer can run you through all of the potential consequences you face. You need to prepare for all possibilities; an attorney can help.
Neil S. Ruskin
188 Montague Street Suite 900
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Local: (718) 237-1547