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How drugs lead to DUI charges

When you think of the crime of driving under the influence, you probably think of someone who consumes alcohol and drives, but illicit drugs often play a role in DUI charges. According to data compiled in 2016, 11.8 million motorists drove while under the influence of drugs.

The consumption of illegal drugs or misuse of prescription medications can lead to serious criminal charges. Driving under the influence is illegal because of the dangerous impairment caused by drugs. Here is how different drugs affect driving abilities: 


Cannabis is the most common substance used by drivers, next to alcohol. The mind-altering THC causes driving impairments such as:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Slow reaction times
  • Difficulty processing information
  • Drowsiness

These effects may also show up with the use of depressant drugs, such as opiates and benzodiazepines.

Stimulating drugs

Stimulants may lead to:

  • Fidgeting
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Dangerous or reckless driving
  • Overconfidence
  • Risky behavior

Some common stimulants include cocaine, amphetamines and ecstasy.


There are various hallucinogenic drugs, including LSD, ketamine, magic mushrooms and PCP. Effects include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Blurry vision
  • Lack of coordination
  • Confusion

These drugs distort the perception of the person taking them. This may result in hearing or seeing things that are not really there. 

Prescription medications

Some legal drugs may be dangerous and result in criminal charges, even if they are used legally. Some medications cause:

  • Lack of coordination 
  • Drowsiness
  • Slow reaction time
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety

Drugs with potentially dangerous side effects have labels on the bottles instructing users to not operate vehicles while taking them. 

You can receive DUI charges for using a variety of drugs. Unfortunately, you may face charges even if you are not under the influence. Some active ingredients in drugs show up in tests long after the effects have worn off. If you face any DUI drug charges, make sure you get legal assistance. You never know how much your charges will get reduced or dropped. 

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