Timothy O. McCalep

Work with experienced attorney to build strong defense against drugged driving charges

Last time, we mentioned the recent arrest of Tiger Woods and his subsequent statement that he was under the influence of prescription drugs at the time of the arrest. As we noted, DUI laws do not distinguish between illegal and prescription drugs, so drivers can be charged for DUI whenever they are found to be operating or in control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of any drug.

Because there are no clear biometric tests or legal limits to determine whether a drugged driver is impaired in his or her ability to operate a motor vehicle, police officers have to rely on secondary signs of impairment. These include things like: driving performance; smell, speech and demeanor; eye color; level of alertness; ability to follow directions; and overall appearance. 

Police officers are typically well-trained in identifying intoxicated and impaired drivers, of course, but they are not infallible. In cases where impairment is not clear, there is always the danger that police officers will err on the side of getting a driver off the road when the driver is perceived to be a danger to the public.

From the perspective of a DUI defense attorney, it is critical to call into question the judgment of police officers, especially in drugged driving cases, because what appears to be drug impairment could have another explanation or could be attended by circumstances that warrant dismissal of charges, lesser charges, or at least lesser punishment in sentencing.

Working with a skilled defense attorney, of course, can make a big difference in any DUI case. The aim of any experienced criminal defense attorney in DUI defense is to help a defendant build the strongest possible case, hold the government to its full burden of proof, and to minimize the consequences of criminal charges. Getting in early contact with an attorney can help ensure a defendant has the best chance at achieving a favorable outcome in his or her case. 

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