Driving Under the Influence of Drugs – DUID

Pennsylvania driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) cases are prosecuted similarly to drunk driving cases. A Pennsylvania DUID charge carries significant punishment, so you need an experienced PA DUI defense attorney on your side. The Pennsylvania DUI attorneys at Zachary B. Cooper, Attorney at Law, P.C. are ready to review your DUID case and determine whether the district attorney's evidence is subject to challenge.

In driving under the influence of marijuana cases, Pennsylvania has a "per se" limit of how much of the drug you're permitted to have in your system. Under Pennsylvania's per se marijuana laws, you can be convicted of DUID if you have 5 ng/ml, or nanograms per milliliter, of THC in your system. How much marijuana it takes to reach this level depends on many factors, including how regularly you may have ingested the drug.

You can also be charged with DUID if you're determined to have been under the influence of it, which is loosely defined as being incapable of operating a motor vehicle with the same caution characteristic of a sober person under the same or similar circumstances.

DUID cases aren't limited to illegal drugs. Using a drug legally prescribed by a doctor or even over-the-counter remedies can result in a DUID charge. The only pertinent issue is whether you met the legal definition of driving under the influence.

Pennsylvania DUID cases, like drunk driving prosecutions, are attempted to be proven with circumstantial evidence. The district attorney will use evidence that includes your appearance, driving patterns, performance on field sobriety tests, and chemical test results.

Police typically use blood or urine tests when investigating DUID cases. Urine tests are considered particularly unreliable when testing for either alcohol or drugs, but are still sometimes used in DUID cases. Urine testing detects metabolites, not the drug itself.

Different drugs are eliminated from the body at vastly different rates. Stimulants such as methamphetamine and cocaine are flushed from the body relatively quickly, while marijuana can remain in your system for much longer. Because of this, you could be charged with driving under the influence of marijuana even if the effect of the drug had long worn off.

Police sometimes shift their focus from drunk driving investigations to DUID probes because a breath test showed a blood alcohol content (BAC) that didn't exceed the legal limit of .08 percent.

Some Pennsylvania law-enforcement agencies have Drug Recognition Evaluators, or DREs, who participate in DUID investigations. DREs check factors such as blood pressure, pulse rate, pupil size, and other measurements, and scan for injection marks and other telltale signs of drug use. They sometimes administer additional field sobriety tests as well.

However, it may be possible to fight your DUID case, because the so-called signs of drug use can be misinterpreted, and chemical tests are sometimes unreliable. To learn more about aggressive defenses to charges of driving under the influence of drugs, please contact the Pennsylvania DUI attorneys at Zachary B. Cooper, Attorney at Law, P.C. today for a free consultation.