Drugged Driving on the Rise in Illinois
People throughout the country are well aware of what will happen to them if they are arrested for drunk driving. Many know someone who has been convicted of driving under the influence, and are familiar with all the challenges that can arise when a person is without a driver's license.
Most of these DUI arrests concern motorists who have had too much to drink before driving. However, drivers may also be charged with DUI if they are operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs. Law enforcement agencies nationwide have noticed an increase in these types of cases, and are starting to crackdown on these motorists.
In Illinois, there are two ways in which individuals may be facing drugged driving charges. First, the state may charge an individual with DUI if the motorist's driving ability is impaired due to the effects of a drug. This can apply to those using medications according to a doctor's prescription, or those who are under the influence of illegal drugs.
The second type of drugged driving that may arise in Illinois concerns the state's "per se" law. This applies when an individual's blood is checked for the presence of drugs after he or she has been stopped by police. If any illegal drugs show up on the test, the person may be charged with DUI.
There is no "legal limit" that individuals are allowed to consume; the presence of any illegal drugs can lead to charges. Also, these laws may permit a motorist to be facing DUI charges even if there was no impact on his or her ability to operate a motor vehicle.
Most people are not familiar with how law enforcement officers investigate these crimes. When they stop an individual suspected of driving under the influence of drugs, they often need to call a specially-trained officer to the scene to conduct the investigation. These officers, called drug recognition experts (DREs), will perform several tests to check for impairment, similar to field sobriety tests that are conducted during DUI stops.
If the DRE believes that the motorist has used drugs, the individual will be required to take a blood test. If this test is refused, the individual will lose his or her driving privileges due to the administrative license suspension that accompanies any refusal to submit to a blood or breath test. The results of the test will then be analyzed, and if any controlled substances are present, the individual will be charged with DUI.
Penalties for drugged driving can mean jail time, as well as fines. Drivers will lose their license if convicted. If you have been arrested for drugged or drunk driving, be sure that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney about the facts of your case. It is extremely important that you understand what will happen if you are convicted of these charges.
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