Many New York residents are familiar with the problems caused by drunk driving, but they may be surprised to hear that drugged driving can also lead to an arrest. Certain drugs, whether they are illegal narcotics, perfectly legal prescriptions or over-the-counter medicines can all cause different effects to an individual’s brain.
For example, let’s examine marijuana. According to some, the use of this drug can delay a driver’s reaction time and coordination. It could also affect the driver’s ability judge distance and time while driving. This could lead to a motor vehicle accident.
In addition, illegal drugs such as methamphetamine or cocaine may also have a significant effect on a person’s brain, according to some. For example, those who use such drugs may drive recklessly or aggressively. This can also cause a motor vehicle accident.
Moreover, sometimes prescription drugs can cause problems while driving, according to some. For example, benzodiazepines (a particular kind of sedative) may cause a driver to feel sleepy or dizzy, leading them to be involved in a motor vehicle accident.
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, and the police accuse you of drugged driving, you could face significant penalties. In fact, some states have “zero-tolerance” policies when it comes to drugged driving. However, there may be defenses in your favor. For example, the traffic stop the officer conducted could be illegal. Officers must have reasonable suspicion that the driver was breaking the law. Without it, the traffic stop may not be legal. However, illegal traffic stops may not be the only defense against drugged driving. In addition, individuals who have taken legal drugs and have been driving responsibly should not be accused of a crime. A criminal law attorney can educate individuals further about any defenses they may have if they are accused of drugged driving.
Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse, “DrugFacts: Drugged Driving,” March 28, 2016