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How do Missouri prosecutors build a drugged driving case?

On Behalf of | Feb 10, 2021 | DWI Defense

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) laws in Missouri don’t just outlaw driving after having too much to drink. They also make it a criminal act to drive while under the effect of intoxicating illegal drugs or strong prescription medication.

Police officers conduct field sobriety tests to check for signs of impairment. Even before a driver gets out of their vehicle, the police ask drivers questions during a traffic stop that can lead to an arrest.

Still, the tests commonly employed during traffic stops primarily serve to screen for alcohol impairment. A chemical breath test, for example, will not show the presence of cocaine or marijuana in someone’s bloodstream. How do law enforcement officers or prosecutors prove that someone had drugs in their body at the time of a traffic stop?

Officers asked related questions to screen for hints

The first step toward determining if someone is under the influence of drugs during a traffic stop is to find out what they did before they got in the car. Asking someone where they were or what medication they take may be all that is necessary for an officer to convince someone to implicate themselves.

Some people with prescriptions for strong medications might mistakenly assume that they have the legal right to drive if the prescription is legal and valid. Others will share that they were at a party or a club. When an officer has a reason to think that you consumed drugs before driving, they can then arrest you and demand chemical testing.

Chemical testing can validate an officer’s suspicion of impairment

In Missouri, police officers can order either blood or urine tests when they suspect a driver has drugs in their system. State forensic laboratories will conduct an analysis of samples gathered from someone in state custody to determine if chemicals are present. Any positive tests could lead to criminal charges against the driver.

Those facing drug-related DWI charges can still defend themselves. In some cases, they can challenge the physical evidence against them or the reason for the traffic stop and the officer’s behavior during the stop. Talking about your circumstances can give you a better idea about the best defense options in your case.


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Travis Noble is a graduate of the National College for DUI Defense at Harvard University, and he lectures at seminars nationwide on DWI/DUI topics. He is the lawyer whom other lawyers consult to defend their DWI clients. Most importantly, he has a track record of successfully defending some of the toughest DWI cases in Missouri and beyond.

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