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Is there a per se limit for drugged driving in Missouri?

On Behalf of | Dec 9, 2022 | Drunk Driving

Drivers in Missouri May face impaired driving charges for several reasons. They may test positive for drugs or alcohol after causing a car crash or get arrested following a traffic stop that made an officer think they were not sober. Some people even get arrested at special drunk driving checkpoints.

For those accused of alcohol-related impairment, there could be charges related to visible signs of impairment while driving as well as technical infractions based on someone’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Missouri imposes a 0.08% per se limit on the BAC of most drivers, although there are stricter limits for youthful drivers and people operating commercial vehicles.

That per se limit can lead to charges when someone is over the limit even if their driving seems perfectly normal. If you find yourself accused of drugged driving because of a banned substance or prescription, is there a per se limit that applies to those charges?

There are no legal limits for illegal substances

A per se limit for alcohol makes sense because it is legal for adults to consume, and establishing a threshold people should not exceed is simpler than determining the BAC at which each individual becomes impaired.

For banned drugs like heroin, marijuana or methamphetamine, there is no legal limit because having any amount of these prohibited substances in your bloodstream is already a crime. Beyond that, researchers have yet to establish reasonable per se limits for those substances the way that they have for alcohol.

While prescription medication is not inherently illegal, driving after taking it often is. Any medication labeled with a warning about driving or operating heavy machinery is a medication that you should not take before driving. You should also monitor yourself and avoid driving if you feel drowsy or at all cognitively impaired because of a medication that your doctor prescribed.

As with banned substances, there are no per se limits for ability-impairing prescription medications like muscle relaxants, sleep aids and narcotic pain relievers. Any detectable amount in your bloodstream or an admission of taking those medications before driving might be enough for a Missouri prosecutor to charge you with drugged driving. Understanding the rules that apply to Missouri impaired driving charges will benefit those accused of breaking the law.

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Travis L. 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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