Last time, we began looking at some of the special issues that need to be considered in drugged driving cases, whether based on use of prescription medication or illegal drugs. First of all, we noted, because there is no legal limit associated with drugged driving, police officers rely on a variety of pieces of evidence to build a case for impaired driving.
Evidence that can be used to establish to establish probable cause for arrest and drugged driving charges includes: the manner in which the driver was operating his or her vehicle; his or her appearance and demeanor when questioned by law enforcement; admissions of using drugs prior to or while driving; and performance on standardized field sobriety tests. The reliability of evidence presented in support of drugged driving charges is important to scrutinize in building a DUI defense case. Although there are certainly obvious cases of impairment by drugs, there are some cases where what appears to be drug impairment is not actually so.
Performance on field sobriety tests, for instance, is not always an accurate indicator of impairment. Field sobriety tests can present reliability issues in DUI cases in general, and in drugged driving cases in particular. A skilled defense attorney knows how to challenge the accuracy of these tests to the defendant’s benefit. When it comes to blood testing, this can certainly be used to establish impairment. It should be kept in mind, though, that the amount of the drug in the defendant’s blood can make a difference, but term is no established legal limit for drug impairment and different people differently to the presence of a drug in their system.
When the evidence shows beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was impaired in his or her ability to drive because of drug use, he or she can be convicted. A skilled defense attorney, however, can help identify weaknesses in the government’s case, protect a defendant’s rights, and give him or her the best possible opportunity for a favorable outcome.