Drugged Driving

“Contact Douglass & Runger for Zealous Legal Representation”

Memphis Drugged Driving Lawyer

When most individuals hear the term “DUI,” they may have an image of an inebriated individual stumbling out of a local bar or tavern and getting behind the wheel of a car with a bottle of liquor in hand. However, in Tennessee and many other states, there is an increasing incidence of individuals who are driving under the influence of drugs (DUID). In fact, it is possible for a person to face Tennessee’s tough DUI penalties without ever having consumed a single alcoholic drink.

Being charged with a drugged driving offense means you are facing mandatory jail sentences and mandatory minimum fines (along with a possible suspension of your license and other administrative penalties). Contact the Memphis drugged driving defense law firm of Douglass & Runger, Licenciados en Leyes, for assistance in mounting an effective defense to these serious charges.

What is Drugged Driving?

Tennessee law takes an expansive view in prohibiting drugged driving. In essence, drugged driving occurs any time a person is under the influence of any intoxicant, marijuana, and/or drug affecting the person’s central nervous system to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely driving a vehicle. Any amount of drugs in a person’s system can lead to a drugged driving charge; in other words, the government does not need to show that the person had any specific amount of any particular drug in the person’s system in order to convict him or her of drugged driving.

Nor is it a defense to drugged driving that the person had a valid prescription or was otherwise entitled to use the drug. So long as the person’s impairment can be tied to the drugs or substances found in his or her system, a conviction is possible.

Defending Against Drugged Driving

The Tennessee DUI law is broad and prohibits drugged driving on a variety of roadways and property. Most successful defenses of drugged driving charges attacks the government’s evidence of impairment and/or driving. For instance:

The law enforcement officer may not have had reasonable suspicion to stop you.

This may make any evidence of impairment obtained after the traffic stop inadmissible in court, leading to charges being dismissed.

The law enforcement officer may not have had reasonable suspicion to conduct a drugged driving investigation.

Even if the officer lawfully stopped you, that officer needs to have evidence that you are impaired by drugs before asking you to submit to testing like field tests or blood tests. If the officer does not have such evidence, his or her investigation and any results thereof can be kept out of court.

The law enforcement officer may not have enough evidence of impairment.

To a large degree, an officer’s conclusion that a particular driver is impaired is a subjective judgment. It is formulated based on the officer’s own observations of the driver’s driving and his or her performance on certain “standardized” tests. If these tests are not administered correctly, the officer may come to incorrect conclusions.

Penalties for Drugged Driving

Drugged driving penalties mirror those for driving under the influence of alcohol and can include significant periods of incarceration, mandatory fines, license suspensions, and the mandatory installation of ignition interlocks.  Penalties may also be imposed if the driver refuses to submit to testing such as breath or blood testing when requested. Other charges like child endangerment and vehicular homicide can also be leveled against a driver if the situation warrants such serious charges.

Contact Douglass & Runger, Licenciados en Leyes, for Zealous Legal Representation

At Douglass & Runger, Licenciados en Leyes, we investigate the government’s case and its evidence when preparing a thorough defense for our clients. If you have been charged with drugged driving in Tennessee, contact us now at (901) 388-5805 to learn how our experienced team of Tennessee criminal defense lawyers can assist you.