Driving under the influence of drugs is a rising problem in the United States. While alcohol can be detected with a breathalyzer, drugs in the system can be harder to detect.
For this reason, most states have developed training programs to help officers identify whether or not an individual is under the influence, using roadside tests and observations. But the laws are not as clear as with the laws on specific blood alcohol levels.
With the variety of drugs, whether prescription, over-the-counter, or street drugs, it is obvious that determining a legal amount for each would be a daunting task. It would also be hard to develop the precision that would allow certain blood levels to be identified as over the legal limit.
Drugs also stay in the system for days or weeks, depending upon the type and amount consumed. This makes it even harder for legal limit laws to be created and enforced. For this reason, most states have adopted a very basic law about driving under the influence.
In general, driving under the influence can include any mental impairment. Driving drowsy, for example, will count in many states. If you take Benadryl, Nyquil, or a muscle relaxant that makes you sleepy or disoriented, there could be a case against you, if you get charged with a Utah DUI.
Because there is no way to test for specific drugs on a roadside test, officers have to consider the circumstantial evidence. Some of the things they look for are how the car was driven, how the driver did on field sobriety tests, the physical appearance of the driver, and, if applicable, tests taken from the driver’s blood or urine after the fact.
Even diabetics driving with low blood sugar symptoms have been charged with DUI’s. The bottom line is if you feel you are not mentally sharp, for whatever reason, it is probably best to right the situation before you drive. If not, you may find yourself sitting across the desk from your own Utah DUI attorney discussing the charges against you.