Drug DUI Laws in Anne Arundel County
Drug DUIs in Anne Arundel are not as common as alcohol DUIs. However, because of the imprecise nature of determining drug impairment in threshold cases, there are certain situations where someone was charged with a drug DUI when they should not have been. Generally speaking, there are two situations where an officer writes a drug DUI in Anne Arundel County.
The first situation when an officer writes a ticket for a drug DUI occurs when the officer has a reason to believe that the individual was impaired by drugs. That might be a situation where an individual takes a breathalyzer test that registers a .00 percent blood alcohol content (BAC). Because the officer detected some impairment, he or she assumes it must be drugs. In that case, the officer has the individual talk to a Drug Recognition Expert, which is an officer who received training in recognizing drug impairment. The officer may ask the individual to submit to a blood test. Those types of cases are very rare in Anne Arundel; as low as a single digit percentage of DUI cases.
The other situation when an officer writes a drug DUI ticket is when an individual refuses to take a breathalyzer test. If an individual refuses a breathalyzer test, the officer may write a drug DUI because the person did not submit to a breathalyzer test, the officer cannot tell if the person was drunk or high at the time they were driving a vehicle. That is an extremely weak theory, and these cases are far more common than they should be.
The only kind of drug DUIs that individuals should worry about regarding a conviction are when the officer has some kind of basis to believe there was impairment by drugs.
Drug DUI Stops
DUI stops are almost the same for alcohol and drug DUI charges. The officers initiate a traffic stop based on some type of traffic infraction that could be an equipment violation or a driving infraction. The officer asks the driver to step out of the car for a field sobriety test and, depending on the results, arrests the individual for suspicion of a DUI. At that point, the person must take a breathalyzer test to eliminate the presence of alcohol, even if the officer suspects drugs.
After the breathalyzer test is conducted, the individual is asked to speak to a Drug Recognition Expert and may need to submit to a chemical blood test. These two steps are the differences between drug and alcohol tests. Up until the breathalyzer test, the process is exactly the same. It is only after the breathalyzer test when there is the DRE evaluation; the chemical blood test makes the difference between the two types of cases.
Drug DUIs Include Legal and Illegal Drugs
There are two types of drug DUIs in the Maryland Transportation Code in section 21-902. Subsection (c) involves operating under the influence of prescription medications or a combination of drugs and alcohol. It includes any kind of over the counter medications such as allergy medications or drug interactions. Section 21-902 (d) involves controlled dangerous substances. A § 21-902 (d) offense includes driving under the influence of an illegal drug such as cocaine, heroin, and marijuana.
Common Drugs Involved in Drug DUI Cases
There are §21-902 (c) and (d) violations from a gambit of illegal drugs such as LSD, Psilocybin Mushrooms and MDMA, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana. There may also be violations for prescription drugs such as Ambien and Nyquil. Some people are charged for drug interactions or for migraine medications. Any substance that can cause some type of impairment could potentially result in a drug DUI ticket in Anne Arundel County.