Driving under the influence is illegal. People often refer to this as “drunk driving” – as if the two terms are synonymous – but that is something of a misnomer. It is also illegal to drive under the influence of other substances, such as those that can get you high. Alcohol may not be involved at all.
In fact, in some ways, driving under the influence of these other substances may be more difficult to avoid than driving under the influence of alcohol. Many people can gauge their alcohol consumption, and there are breath tests they can use to determine if their BAC is low enough for them to drive. This isn’t a perfect science, but they know that their body is going to metabolize alcohol at a set rate, and they can plan around it so that they only drive when they’re sober, even if they do like to drink.
However, there are those who use prescription medications recreationally. This is very common with opioids and other types of painkillers. But experts warn that these can often take time to kick in, and they may last for an incredibly long amount of time. If someone takes painkillers, they’re not just looking at an hour for the body to clear the substances out of their system, as would happen with a single alcoholic drink.
Another example would be if someone takes marijuana to get high and then drives. The high from edibles could last for 6 hours or more. This may not be the peak, but it could still be enough to impair driving ability and show up on a drug test.
Have you been arrested on allegations of driving under the influence? A conviction could have a major impact on the rest of your life, so it’s crucial that you understand your legal defense options.