Driving under the influence of drugs or DUID is a serious offense in West Virginia. Keep reading for more information about DUIDs and the penalties for driving under the influence.
Since marijuana has been legalized for medical use, law enforcement has taken a stricter approach to investigating possible DUIDs. West Virginia already has some of the most restrictive DUI laws, and driving under the influence of drugs is considered a similar offense.
Of course, other drugs, including prescription medications, can contribute to erratic and/or reckless driving. The important factor to note is not usually the type of drug but the amount in the bloodstream. Just as alcohol itself isn't illegal, the amount of it in your bloodstream determines whether you face the law or not.
It's About the End Result
In general, legal drugs like antidepressants, blood pressure medication, and medical marijuana are not risky substances, but in high doses, they can cause significant impairment, especially while behind the wheel.
Mixing multiple substances together or with alcohol can drastically affect the impact on your body. For example, prescription and over-the-counter medications can cause extreme drowsiness, vision impairment, and reduced reaction time. On the other hand, "uppers" like cocaine and methamphetamine cause drivers to act erratically and aggressively.
Illegal substances like coke or meth will lead to a criminal drug charge, but over-the-counter drugs may seem like a less risky way to get high. However, impaired driving is impaired driving, and if police find that you have significant traces of drugs in your blood, you could face serious consequences.
West Virginia does not have a legal limit for legal drugs, but if a doctor or expert finds trace amounts consistent with recreational drug use, the police may pursue a DUID charge.
Police in WV often set up checkpoints on busy days or during important events to check and see whether drivers are operating their vehicle responsible or under the influence. These checkpoints allow officers to satisfy reasonable suspicion.
If an officer suspects impaired driving, they can question the driver and determine a probable cause to arrest. They may arrest you if they find drug paraphernalia or other evidence to suggest that you have been taking drugs and driving.
While it may seem ridiculous to go through a checkpoint, West Virginia drivers are operating under a rule called implied consent. Essentially, this means that by driving on a public road, you are giving your consent to a search or questioning should an officer have reason to believe you are driving under the influence.
You may refuse to answer questions or take a drug test, but you could face further penalties for choosing not to cooperate.
The penalties for a DUID may include:
- Up to six months in jail
- Fines between $100-$500
- Loss of license for up to six months
Three or more DUID convictions may result in a felony. If charged with a felony, you may face three years in prison and fines up to $5,000 in addition to license revocation.
Penalty enhancers – factors that accentuate the existing charges include:
- Driving under the influence with a minor in the vehicle
- Allowing someone under the influence to drive the vehicle
- Driving as a habitual narcotics user with a history of drug abuse
- Injuring or causing a fatality as a result of impaired driving
What to do If You're Charged With a DUID
If you are charged with a DUID, contact The Wagner Law Firm immediately. Our attorney has over two decades of experience helping clients protect their freedom. As a DUI and DUID defense firm, we focus all of our resources and knowledge on defending our clients from charges that could take away their autonomy.
Contact The Wagner Law Firm today.