People often equate a DWI with drunk driving. They know that the legal limit for most drivers is 0.08% in New York. Drivers who get over that can be considered to be intoxicated, while even drivers who are under that threshold may still be considered impaired. But, no matter exactly what that driver’s BAC is, the authorities are still measuring the alcohol in their system.
It is true that most people who get DWI charges get them after drinking and driving. But it’s also important to know that this isn’t just for alcohol use. You can certainly be charged with impaired driving after using other types of substances.
For example, many prescription medications will tell you that you cannot take it and then operate heavy machinery. If you do so, you could open yourself up to liability for injuries that are caused. Your car counts as a piece of heavy machinery. You’re supposed to follow the instructions on the prescription in order to use the substance properly. Therefore, even if you’re taking the medication for a legitimate health condition, driving after taking it could lead to an arrest.
Driving while high
Although marijuana is still illegal federally, it has been legalized for recreational use in New York, along with many other states. As long as you’re on state land, you’re over 21 years old, and you bought the marijuana at a legal dispensary, then you can use it without breaking the law.
But while this is a massive change to the drug laws of the past, it does not change the fact that driving after you get high still means that you are impaired. A police officer would still be able to make an arrest, even if you hadn’t had any alcohol, if they could show that you were high and it was affecting your driving.
Exploring your options
Any time you’re in the car, it’s very important to make sure that you’re not impaired by any sort of substance. The starts with alcohol, but it doesn’t end there. However, if you do get arrested on accusations of driving while under the influence of a controlled substance of some type, you need to know what defense options you have to protect your future.