When police accuse someone of impaired driving related to alcohol, the process of gathering evidence is often simple. They perform chemical tests and videotape someone performing several field sobriety tests, both of which can very quickly convince the courts of someone’s chemical impairment.
When it comes to drug impairment, the situation is a bit different. There are no chemical breath tests available, and standard field sobriety tests don’t necessarily screen as well for drug-related impairment as they do for alcohol intoxication.
How will the state prove a drugged driving offense occurred?
While a breathalyzer won’t show that someone is under the influence of methamphetamine or narcotic pain relievers, there are other tests, including urine and blood tests, which can more accurately determine someone’s chemical state at the time of a traffic stop.
In many cases, there is not a per se limit at which point having a substance in your bloodstream becomes illegal, as with alcohol. Instead, the substance being in someone’s bloodstream at all is a violation and sufficient to bring charges against that person.
The police won’t even need to prove that your driving was bad because of the drugs in your system or that the drug you consumed wasn’t legal. An admission of using certain illegal drugs or prescription medications before getting behind the wheel could also be the only real evidence the state needs to accuse someone of drug driving.
Dashboard, body or traffic camera footage
There may be video footage from nearby traffic cameras that shows how you behaved shortly before the traffic stop that could convince the courts that you must have been under the influence There could also be dash cam footage from the police cruiser or body camera footage that shows how you performed on a field sobriety test or the way that you spoke with interacting with an officer.
That video footage could hope the prosecutor claim that you were under the influence of drugs, especially if you demonstrated impaired motor function, compromised balance or issues with your speech.
Beyond the video and test results, there is also the testimony of the officer who stopped you and of anyone who interacts with you while you are in state custody. Understanding what evidence the prosecutor has against you will be a crucial step as you prepare to fight back against impaired driving charges.