Driving under the influence and driving while intoxicated are two criminal charges that are often associated with alcohol consumption. Both of these charges can also occur in connection with drugs. A driver can be charged with a DUI or DWI if any drug he or she consumed has affected his or her ability to drive. The drugs can be over-the-counter, natural, prescription or illegal.
Some drugs that people use, even if those drugs are used for valid reasons and with a doctor's approval, can affect the brain. Sedatives, for example, might be prescribed by a doctor. Those drugs can lead to drowsiness or dizziness that can make it unsafe to drive. Drugs like marijuana can lead to a slowed reaction time. Methamphetamine might lead to reckless or aggressive driving.
When drug usage is coupled with alcohol consumption, the negative effects on a driver's ability to drive safely are more pronounced. A person who consumes alcohol or smokes marijuana might weave through lanes when he or she drives. That weaving is increased if the person smokes marijuana and drinks alcohol before driving.
Avoiding getting behind the wheel if you have been drinking alcohol or taking drugs is obviously the best way to avoid having to deal with a criminal conviction. If you were unable to avoid driving in that situation, you might end up facing criminal charges.
You have the right to present a defense against any DUI or DWI charge. Learning your options and deciding how to move forward once you know the available options is a critical decision for any impaired driving criminal defense case.
Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse, "DrugFacts: Drugged Driving," accessed Sep. 28, 2015