New studies are suggesting that incidences of drugged driving (DUID) crashes have finally surpassed alcohol-related driving (DUI) accidents. The study found that 43 percent of drivers tested in fatal automobile crashes in 2015 were high either on legal or illegal drugs, which was a higher number than the 37 percent who tested for over the legal limit of alcohol, according to a report issued by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility.
“We have a drug crisis in this country. I think that’s clearly evident and it’s impacting traffic safety,” said GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins.
Findings of the Drugged Driver Study
The following facts and findings were provided by the GHSA and Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility’s report:1
- More than one-third of those drivers who had tested positive for drugs had used marijuana, while more than 9 percent were on amphetamines.
- Drunk driving does appear to be on the decline, and drugged driving appears to be on the increase.
- Another trend appears to be that impaired drivers are combining two or more substances.
- Every state has laws banning the use of drugs or alcohol while operating a motor vehicle.
- Opioids appears to be a concerning drug used by drivers. In 2015, roughly 33,000 people died from an opioid overdose, which is nearly the number of drivers killed (35,095) in all traffic accidents that year.
- Drivers testing positive for drugs after their death rose to nearly 43 percent in 2015. It was nearly half that 10 years earlier.
- Marijuana is legal for medical use in 29 states, including the District of Columbia.
- European studies have concluded that marijuana only slightly increased the risk of a car accident, while the use of opioids, amphetamines, and mixing alcohol with drugs greatly increased the chance of a car collision.
- Hundreds of drugs could literally impair drivers on our roadways, including over-the-counter drugs.
Strategies for DUI/DUID Defense Cases
Let’s face it, we’ll all heard about someone who knows someone who got out of a DUI charge. We’ll let’s be clear, that is not the norm and it is a rare exception. But, we’ll take a look at several strategies that attorneys use in court to help their clients charged with driving impaired:
- Wrongfully Stopped by Law Enforcement – Law enforcement officers cannot randomly stop or pull over citizens without “reasonable suspicion.” If you were obeying traffic laws, doing the speed limit, not swerving, and didn’t have any mechanical problems with your vehicle, then it may be possible to argue that the police had no reasonable suspicion to pull you over.
- Not Following Proper Field Sobriety Protocols – If law enforcement fails to properly follow strict field test sobriety tests, then an attorney can argue that any evidence entered can be suppressed. Especially, if the investigating officer is disrespectful or exhibits inappropriate actions towards the person being charged.
- Errors in Blood-Alcohol Testing & Storage of Samples – Law enforcement must conduct a lawful and well-trained blood-alcohol sample collection within certain time guidelines. If too much times has elapsed or testing was conducted by an untrained phlebotomist, the results could be inadmissible. Law enforcement is also required to provide proper sample storage, so as to not contaminate, mislabel, or cause a sample to ferment. If it can be shown that the sample in question could be tainted, then it could be thrown out as evidence.
- Driver Has Medical Condition – In some rare cases, defendants can have certain medical conditions in which they can sometimes appear drunk, when they are in fact sober. Glucose in the blood stream, fatigue, and neurological problems can mimic the effects of alcohol, such as slurred speech, watery eyes, and a tired appearance. Ketosis, a diabetic side effect, can also cause an “alcohol smell” on someone’s breath. Ketosis can also make a breathalyzer register the presence of alcohol on a sober person.
- Law Enforcement Illegally Searches Vehicle – Law enforcement cannot search you or your car without your express permission or probable cause. If they in fact search your car without permission, it is a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights, which protects citizens against illegal search and seizure. Proving the law enforcement officer failed show how you granted permission or there was no probable cause, the charges can be dropped in the matter.
Contact a Broomfield DUI Attorney at The Datz Law Firm
Have you been wrongfully charged with a DUI or DUID? If so, the Broomfield DUI Attorney at The Datz Law Firm is here to defend your rights and call into question any unscrupulous evidence entered into the case to be used against you. Our Broomfield DUI attorney will go through this list of defenses, as well as others that may be helpful to your case. Don’t let the courts decide your fate, let us help you get the best outcome possible.
Our team at the Datz Law Firm understands how stressful and unsettling DUI and/or DUID charges can be. Let us focus on your investigation and charges, so you can breathe and sleep easier. A former district attorney, our Broomfield DUI attorney is skilled at building the strongest case to help get you the chance for justice know deserve. Even if you were at fault, we can help bring frivolous charges brought against you dropped and get you the most lenient sentencing allowed under the law.
We can set up a free, initial consultation to discuss your cases. Just call our Broomfield DUI attorney at (720) 256-2404, or email him using the contact form at the top of this page.
We also highly value our clients, so should you need us after hours we can also return calls any time of day or night. We pride ourselves on serving our clients, so we go the extra mile. We have offices in Broomfield, but we also take clients along the Front Range as well.