Usually, when most people think of “DUI” they immediately think of alcohol. However, driving under the influence of drugs (DUI drugs)—whether illegal or prescription—is every bit as serious an offense, and is garnering increased attention from prosecutors and jurisdictions across the nation.
The NHTSA developed the Drug Recognition Program to help address the growing concern over drug-related DUI offenses. Before the program’s inception, authorities struggled to adequately prove that the suspect was intoxicated at the time of arrest. Complex variables and influencing factors, as well as scientific issues in testing and identifying the presence of drugs, made effective testing difficult. The Drug Recognition Program consists of trained experts who are dispatched to the crime scene to help determine the probability that the person being charged is under the influence of drugs.
While their preliminary findings can sometimes be helpful to the authorities, there is a lot of room for error. The experts are generally not medically trained, making it difficult or even impossible to distinguish between symptoms arising from the presence of drugs and those arising from mental or medical conditions.
If the case involves prescription drugs, there is additional room for human error. Because there is no per se level for DUI drugs, officers must prove impairment to make an effective case. Cases have occurred where people have been charged with DUI drugs even when properly taking the recommended dosages of their medication. Since experts at the scene most often know nothing about the individual they’re evaluating, they are unable to take into account the characteristics of the person before them, often leading to errors in judgment.
Like alcohol-related DUI charges, DUI drug cases can be effectively defended with the assistance of an attorney knowledgeable about the shortcomings of the system and familiar with your particular situation. If you’re facing DUI drug charges, contact an attorney with the expertise necessary to build a strong case in your defense. The Law Offices of Garrett T. Ogata can provide you with a world-class DUI lawyer in Las Vegas and surrounding areas.