Types of Drugs Commonly Attributed to DUI
Interviewer: What drugs are commonly attributed to drug-related DUI charges?
Drug-Related DUIs Fall into 2 Categories: Recreational and Prescription
Jerry Novak: DUI charges involving drugs are actually a very common occurrence. Basically they fall into two groups. There’s the recreational drug users, someone who is smoking cannabis, or using cocaine, or is using ecstasy, or some other type of recreational use of drugs.
What also is very common are people who are medicated due to various illnesses that they have, and they generally have more than one illness. Unfortunately, they usually have more than one physician, and what happens is these physicians will cross prescribe medications to the patient.
The consumption of legally prescribed medication, often mixed together, will cause that effect that will cause them to draw attention to themselves while they’re driving. They are stopped by a police officer, and things go rapidly downhill from that point.
Illegal Drugs Attributed to DUIs Include Marijuana, Cocaine and Heroin
Interviewer: Can you separate it by legal drugs and illegal drugs?
These Drugs Are Often Consumed with Alcohol and Leads to Poor Driving Patterns, Which Result in a Police Stop
Jerry Novak: The illegal drugs, of course, are the cannabis, the cocaine, the heroin, the PCP, the ecstasy, etcetera, where they might start out legal, but somebody takes them on a recreational basis. Those people are affected, because generally they will consume the drug, along with, many times, some alcohol.
Once on the road, they’ll display some improper driving. They are stopped by the police, and once the police stop them, they generally go through the usual battery of questions. Have you been drinking? If there’s an odor of alcohol that generally will give a police officer a reasonable grounds to get the person out of the car, and have them perform the standardized field sobriety testing.
If the Driver Has Not Exhibited Signs of Alcohol Consumption, the Police May Question Them about Drug Use
If they hadn’t consumed any alcohol, and there’s no odor of alcohol, they may, the officer will look at the following: If they’re able to answer questions and how they display dexterity in obtaining their license or insurance card. That may prompt the police officer to ask them additional questions, like, “Have you consumed any drugs,” or, “Do you have any illnesses?”
If the Driver Has Taken Prescription Medication, They Usually Freely Volunteer That Information to the Officer
In the instance where the driver has taken a legally prescribed drug, the driver will almost always volunteer that type of information. “Officer, I’ve got all these different medical problems, and so I’m on a laundry list of medications.” That’s a huge mistake.
It Is NOT Advisable to Volunteer That Information to the Police
He’s definitely going to get you out of the car. Generally if you fall into that population, you’re generally older, and so the standardized field sobriety tests, even on your best day, are going to be a major challenge.
It’s pretty much of a foregone conclusion that someone who is older will fail those tests. This is because those tests aren’t really designed to be passed when you’re that age. You’re going to be failing those tests. The police officer is going to take you into custody. The whole time you’re going to think you’re fine, because these medications are legally prescribed.
Some Over-the-Counter Medication Contain Alcohol
However, it’s no different than if you had a bad cold, and you went out and you bought Nyquil over the counter. If you consumed that Nyquil, or other medication that contains alcohol or depressants, and you get stopped by the police, and they say, “Have you had anything to drink?” You say, “No, but I’ve got this cold. I had some Nyquil.”
That’s still driving under the influence of drugs, regardless of whether it’s legally obtainable over the counter, or it’s prescribed to you. Any consumption of any product that affects your ability to be a safe and responsible driver is going to be DUI in Illinois.