DUI for Drugged Driving Under Pennsylvania Law
You’re probably familiar with Pennsylvania’s harsh laws for drunk driving, which can lead to jail time and hefty fines for a first-time conviction and even more severe penalties for subsequent offenses. However, not as many people know about drugged driving and the fact that the consequences of a conviction can be just as serious – or even more so because you could face charges for possession of a controlled substance. If you’ve been arrested for drugged driving in Pennsylvania, talk to an attorney about how the state’s laws may apply to your case.
Definition of Drugged Driving
You may be arrested for driving under the influence of drugs (DUID), if you are driving, operating, or in physical control of a vehicle’s movement AND:
There is any amount of a controlled substance in your blood as determined under Pennsylvania’s system of categorizing drugs. Schedule I includes substances that have no medical purposes, such as marijuana, heroin, crystal meth, and LSD. Other schedules deal with prescription drugs for which a person does not have a prescription.
You may also be arrested for DUID if you are under the influence of a drug such that your driving capabilities are impaired.
Zero Tolerance for Driving Under the Influence of a Controlled Substances
Pennsylvania has adopted a “zero-tolerance” approach for DUID, which means that any amount of a drug detected in your system will result in an arrest. Plus, an officer needs only a reasonable suspicion that you’re under the influence of drugs; actual evidence is not necessary. Therefore, an odor of marijuana smoke, bloodshot eyes, or slurred speech may be enough to arrest you for DUID.
Penalties for a Drugged Driving Conviction
A person who is convicted of DUID is subject to the same penalties as a motorist who violates drunk driving laws under the Highest Rate of Alcohol classification. Therefore:
- A driver will be sentenced to a mandatory minimum of 72 hours in jail, up to a six-month maximum; the court may also order a fine up to $5,000. Administrative penalties include a suspension of your driver’s license for one year.
- For a second or subsequent DUID, the mandatory minimum jail sentence is 90 days and the maximum is five years. The sentence may also include a fine of $1,500-$10,000.
Talk to a Pennsylvania Drugged Driving Attorney About Your Case
It’s not just alcohol that can lead to impaired driving; operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs can also result in a conviction for DUI. Plus, you’re committing another crime by being in possession of a controlled substance. Under the circumstances, you need effective legal representation from an experienced attorney. A skilled lawyer can assist you with the administrative proceedings that impact your driving privileges and will be by your side to protect your rights in the criminal court case against you. If you have questions about drugged driving cases or want to discuss your case in more detail, please contact the West Chester, Pennsylvania, office of Skinner Law Firm.