Drugged driving is a pretty self explanatory term. Like drunk driving implies driving under the influence of alcohol, drugged driving means driving under the influence of drugs. But aside from the fact that drugs can and do affect your ability to safely drive a car, there are a number of facts about drugged driving in Michigan that many people don’t know. So we’ve put together a fact sheet containing four important facts that every driver needs to know about drugged driving.
1. It’s not just illegal drugs!
Many people don’t realize that driving under the influence of drugs doesn’t only mean illegal drugs. While it is illegal to operate a vehicle in any part of Michigan under the influence of heroin, cocaine, meth or any other illicit substance, it is also illegal to drive under the influence of certain prescription drugs, even if the prescription was legally obtained and is in your name. If you have a legal prescription for opioids or if you have a medical marijuana card, it is unlawful to operate a vehicle under the influence of them.
A 2010 nationwide study of deadly crashes found that 47 percent of drivers who tested positive for drugs after a fatal collision had consumed a prescription drug.
2. Drugged driving is more common that you think!
Drugged driving is not a rare occurrence. According to the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.9 million people admitted to driving while under the influence of either illegal or prescription drugs. A study conducted by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration shows that in 2009, 18% of drivers killed in a Michigan crash had at least one drug in their systems at the time of death, and the number is rising each year.
In addition, another national survey revealed that drugs were present more than 7 times as often as alcohol in weekend nighttime drivers in the U.S. In this study, 16% of weekend nighttime drivers tested positive for drugs, compared to the 2% that tested at or above the legal limit for alcohol.
3. Combining alcohol and drugs is even more dangerous!
Because alcohol is a depressant, which means it lowers neurotransmission levels in the brain, it can be extremely dangerous when combined with other drugs that have the same side effects. A combination of alcohol and marijuana or heroin, or alcohol paired with any prescription benzodiazepines (like Xanax or Klonopin) can cause dizziness, loss of motor control, drowsiness, and loss of consciousness. In Michigan, that can get you locked up.
4. Punishment is harsh for drugged drivers who kill others.
Drugged driving is punished quite severely in Michigan, but when someone is killed by a driver who is under the influence of drugs, the penalties are even more harsh. Under Michigan law Drugged Driving Causing Death is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison, a fine of $2,500 to $10,000, or both. In addition, the court may choose to have the vehicle forfeited or immobilized.
Drugged drivers need an excellent criminal defense attorney!
If you or a loved one are facing drugged driving charges, you should hire an experienced DUI attorney immediately! Your future, your record, your license, your finances and your family’s peace of mind are at stake. Call our trusted criminal defense team immediately at 866 766 5245. We can help you.