You may assume that a DUI charge relates to driving while under the influence of alcohol. However, you can be charged with DUI while driving under the influence of any substance that may impair your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. If Missouri authorities believe that you are impaired by a controlled substance, you may be subject to blood, urine or other tests.
The problems with drug tests
A motorist who has a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher will likely be taken into custody on a DUI charge. However, there is no objective standard as it relates to determining if a driver is impaired by marijuana, cocaine or other substances. This is because it’s unclear exactly how much of a substance you must use before you’re too impaired to drive. Furthermore, substances such as marijuana can remain in your body days or weeks after use. At that time, it’s unlikely that you’re still under its influence.
Mixing drugs and alcohol
Studies have indicated that it’s not unusual for drivers to have drugs and alcohol in their systems at the time of a traffic stop. This may result in a mixture of side effects as alcohol is usually considered a depressant while substances such as cocaine and marijuana can stimulate your senses.
Penalties are typically the same
The penalties for a DUI may include a suspension of your driving privileges, jail time and a fine. There is also a chance that your car will be impounded or that you will need to take driver’s education courses as a condition of getting your license back. If you’re convicted of an alcohol DUI, you may need to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on your car.
There are several strategies that may be used to obtain a favorable outcome in a DUI case. For instance, it may be possible to argue that there was no basis for a traffic stop or that chemical tests detected traces of drugs that were days or weeks old.