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Safety Advocates Urge New Laws Related to Drugged Driving

October 28, 2016, on DWI |

Federal drug defense attorneys provide representation to defendants who have been accused of serious drug offenses, such as possession with intent to sell narcotics or distribution and drug trafficking. There are many harsh laws imposed on drug defendants, including mandatory minimum sentences for people convicted of certain offenses on the federal level.

Despite the lack of success in the so-called drug war, many lawmakers continue to be aggressive in fighting to keep harsh penalties intact for people who are accused of being involved with drugs.  If safety advocates get their way, there will also be new laws soon addressing another issue affecting alleged drug users: drugged driving.

Why Drugged Driving is Such a Concern

The head of the National Safety Council is among the safety advocates expressing concern about the problem of drugged driving. Auto News reports that this issue is coming to the forefront as more states legalize marijuana for medicinal or recreational use.

The problem is that drugged driving is difficult to police and there is a lack of uniformity in laws related to drugged driving. While every state has a clear definition of drunk driving and a protocol for administering tests to determine if someone is drunk, there is no such consensus or standard process for drugged driving offenses.

Unfortunately, creating a consensus on drugged driving and establishing a testing process is likely to be difficult. There is disagreement among experts on the actual impact of drugs like cannabis on a person's driving behavior and the relationship between elevated levels of THC (the ingredient in cannabis that causes its psychological effect) and impairment is murky.

Some studies purport to show that higher levels of cannabis and other drugs directly translate to an increased collision risk, but there are counterarguments suggesting that when it comes to cannabis at least, age and demographics matter more in explaining elevated accident levels than marijuana use.

Further, there are no widely marketed and easy-to-use tests that detect cannabis or other drugs in a person's system, and many of the tests that are administered can identify the presence of drugs but not necessarily how recently the drugs were actually used. All of this makes it hard to set clear standards.

Of course, the laws on drunk driving are actually arbitrary too, even though many people don't realize that since the .08 BAC rule is applied nationwide. The BAC limit was actually .15 and then .10 before coming down to .08. The NSC CEO said that the definition of “what constitutes legal impairment is really fairly arbitrary” and is driven by politics. 

Unfortunately, people's lives are affected by these arbitrary standards, as a conviction for drugged or drunk driving can result in a suspended license, a criminal record, more costly insurance and a variety of other consequences.  Any defendant who is accused of drugged or drunk driving should get proper legal help from an attorney to help in fighting charges. 

As the law evolves on drugs, it also remains important for anyone who is accused of a federal drug crime to be represented by skilled drug defense lawyers who understand the ways in which defendants can fight serious charges within the criminal justice system. Contact The Law Office of James E. Tyner, PLLC as soon as possible if you have been charged.

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