California residents may be aware that the reports of drugged driving have continued to increase. Traffic fatalities resulting from drugged driving have also continued to rise, particularly in Rust Belt states, such as Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. Other increases in drugged driving have occurred in the South and Pacific Northwest. All of these areas have been dealing with an increase in heroin and methamphetamine abuse.
According to the National Survey of Drug Use and Health from 2014, approximately 10 million people who were 12 or over admitted to operating a vehicle while they were under the influence of illegal drugs. A 2015 report from the National Highway Safety Administration found that 20 percent of drivers in 2014 tested positive for drugs. Another study, this one from 2011, indicated that drugged driving was almost as prevalent as drunk driving among college students.
It was suggested that the drugged driving reports continue to increase because addicts do not or cannot wait to get home before they take the drug. Heroin users, for example, have to keep a schedule to avoid the withdrawal symptoms if they do not take the drug at a specific time.
People who have been issued DUI charges after being accused of drugged driving can potentially face serious legal consequences that could include a jail sentence, probation and expensive fines. A criminal defense attorney may look for weaknesses in the case. For example, the attorney may argue that the authorities did not have probable cause to conduct a traffic stop on the defendant. Otherwise, the attorney may potentially negotiate a plea deal with the prosecution that allows the defendant to seek treatment for a drug problem rather than more onerous penalties.