Drug Impairment and Involuntary Intoxication in Maryland
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in a DUID case is not recognizing the distinction between a drug-related DUI and an alcohol-related DUI. An attorney without much experience may not realize that the state has to provide specific evidence of unsafe driving in order for the defendant to be convicted, which in turn will hurt your case. The wording for a DUI drug case is different, and the language is very specific making it important that your drug DUI attorney pays attention to exactly what charges the defendant is facing.
In a drug DUI case, the court is going to expect to hear proof about the inability of the defendant to safely drive a vehicle. If there is not that specific kind of evidence, the attorney should make sure to advise the defendant that they do not want to consider a plea if it cannot be proven. It’s important to look at the evidence and see what is the state is going to offer in order to prove that very specific element. If they don’t have the evidence then an attorney should definitely be advising the client to consider pleading not guilty or perhaps pleading to a different offense but not the drug-related offense.
Is Involuntary Intoxication a Defense?
Involuntary intoxication could potentially be a defense to a drug-related offense as well as a lot of other types of offenses because that would suggest that the person was not voluntarily drinking or consuming drugs. This could mean, for example, that somehow somebody surreptitiously placed something in somebody’s drink and they did not ever intend to consume whatever that drug is.
What About Voluntary Intoxication?
Voluntary intoxication is a very different defense versus involuntary intoxication. Specifically, under Maryland law, voluntary intoxication is a defense only if the defendant can show that they were taking the medication as prescribed or as directed as an over the counter type medication and were unaware that the drug would make him incapable of driving safely.
In this instance, it can be used as a defense as you can state that you were never advised that it would make you drowsy or that it would affect your coordination, and that if you had known you would never have gotten behind the wheel of a car. People sometimes don’t realize that when you get a prescription now from the drugstore, you get your prescription with a whole host of people to explain what the drug can do what the possible side effects are. It really would be more an issue for an individual who is perhaps getting prescriptions from different types of doctors for different types of ailments and they have never been advised about the potential side effects of combining certain drugs. However, in general, this is how the defense of voluntary intoxication typically works.