Driver impairment is a major issue in the United States, leading to many arrests every year. Most of the time, these are for alcohol use. Police officers can determine that someone is impaired through field sobriety tests or simply by observing the way that they are driving. A driver doesn’t necessarily have to break the legal limit of 0.08% BAC in order to qualify as being impaired.
However, when a driver does hit that level, then the court is allowed to presume that they were impaired at the time they were pulled over. This is why taking a breath test is so common. It can provide the authorities with evidence that the driver was over the legal limit, which may lead to a conviction.
But what if it’s a different substance?
When things get tricky is if the driver is impaired by something else. After all, impairment is what is actually illegal here. That includes impairment from something like a prescription medication that they’re taking or a drug like marijuana.
But this is when it gets a bit more difficult for the authorities to prove the person was impaired. With marijuana, for example, certain tests can show THC levels in a person’s system for a week to a month after they’ve actually used the substances. Someone may not have been high in hours, days or weeks, but they would still fail a drug test. Does this mean that they were impaired? It could, but it’s not as definitive as a breath test for alcohol.
This can lead to a lot of complicated scenarios for those who are facing arrest. If you’re in this position, you need to know about your legal defense options.