Defending Clients Charged For Driving Impaired by Drugs
An individual can be charged with operating under the influence (OUI) of drugs when impaired by any intoxicating substance, including natural, prescription and synthetic drugs. If you or a loved one has been charged with operating a motor vehicle while impaired by a drug or another impairing substance, you need me, an experienced Manchester OUI drugs attorney at Joseph Kelly Levasseur, Esquire, to defend your rights.
I am Joseph Kelly Levasseur, and I have more than 20 years of criminal defense experience representing clients in complicated drunk driving and drugged driving cases. Call me at (603) 622-7575 or contact me online today to get the advice you need.
The Difference Between OUI and DWI
Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is charged for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Operating under the influence (OUI) drug charges cover situations when a driver is operating a vehicle under the influence of any natural or synthetic substances that impair the driver’s ability to operate the vehicle safely.
You could be charged with OUI drugs for driving under the influence of:
- Prescription drugs
- Controlled substances
- Over-the-counter drugs
- Any chemical or natural substance that impairs the ability
While many people associate OUI drug charges with marijuana, heroin and other illegal drugs, an individual may face charges for any type of drug, including a prescription medication that was taken as prescribed. This includes prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs that have side effects, such as fatigue, drowsiness, impairment of judgment or warnings about not operating a motor vehicle.
Consequences of an OUI Conviction
The consequences of an OUI conviction are the same as with a DWI conviction for alcohol. The specific penalties depend on how many prior convictions the defendant has on their record. The amount of jail time, fines and length of license suspension vary, depending on the number of prior offenses.
DWI for alcohol and OUI drug charges are interchangeable in New Hampshire, so someone with a prior DWI for alcohol and a subsequent OUI for drugs would be considered a second offense.
Penalties for OUI may include:
- A jail sentence
- Fines ranging from several hundred to thousands of dollars
- License suspension for a first or second offense
- Permanent license revocation for a third offense
- Drug abuse screening
- Participation in the Impaired Driver Care Management Program
I can evaluate possible defense strategies and help you mount a strong defense. A few possible defense strategies to drug charges are not possible in alcohol-related cases. For example, drug testing doesn’t indicate when the drug was taken, so there is no way for the prosecution to prove definitively that the person was impaired at the time of the arrest.
Testing to Determine Impairment
One major problem with OUI cases is the difficulty in proving impairment. As with alcohol-related offenses, someone suspected of driving under the influence is subject to field sobriety testing. There are a few different tests that are used to determine physical impairment.
However, BAC testing does not detect drugs, and many of the commonly used methods of detecting alcohol impairment are not effective for drugs. Blood and urine testing may also be used, but it takes time to get the results.
At Joseph Kelly Levasseur, Esquire, I take a strategic approach to each case. I will examine the reason the police gave for stopping you to ensure that your constitutional rights were not violated, and I will inspect how impairment was determined to look for opportunities to challenge or suppress evidence. Throughout the legal process, I am accessible to my clients, so you will always know the status of your case.