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Impaired driving might not involve alcohol

On Behalf of | May 16, 2022 | Criminal Defense

Many people think that impaired driving always has to do with alcohol, but that’s not the case. It’s possible for a person to face this type of charge for impairment due to drugs or medication. This includes over-the-counter, prescription, and illegal substances.

One of the issues that comes with impaired driving that’s due to something other than alcohol is that it’s hard to test for those other substances. When alcohol is the impairing factor, law enforcement can rely on the blood alcohol concentration test to determine whether the person is legally impaired. But, that’s not the case with other substances. For example, marijuana will be detectable in the body long after the impairing effects have worn off.

How do law enforcement officers determine impairment?

Law enforcement officers determine the impairment of a person by having them do a field sobriety test. There are many tests that might be done but only three are part of the standardized battery of tests that are considered reliable. These include the horizontal gaze nystagmus, the walk-and-turn and the one-leg stand.

The issue with field sobriety tests is that they rely on the perception of the officer to determine the outcome of the test. Misinterpretation of the tests is possible, so that’s something that might be brought up in court.

Anyone who’s facing charges for impaired driving should ensure they evaluate their options for a defense plan. Working closely with someone who’s familiar with these charges can help you to determine what option is in your best interest.