Driving under the influence of drugs is a serious crime like driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while impaired (DWI) in Maryland. The drugs that you consumed do not have to be illegal for you to be charged with this crime. However, there may be strong defenses that you can raise that can result in the charges against you being dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense.
Penalties You Face for Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
There are two separate driving under the influence offenses in Maryland under Maryland Code Section 21-901. The penalties for each are as follows:
- Impairment due to drugs and alcohol. Under Maryland Code Section 21-902(c), it is illegal to drive while he is impaired due to drugs, a combination of drugs, or drugs and alcohol. The drugs can be illegal drugs or legal medications. If convicted, a person could be sentenced to up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine if the drugs are not illegal and up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine if they were illegal.
- Impairment due to controlled substances. It is an even more serious offense to be charged with driving while impaired due to controlled substances under Maryland Code Section 21-902(d). Controlled substances are defined in a federal controlled substance law and include marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, and many more substances. The sentence can include a jail sentence of up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
Defenses That May Help You Fight DUI Drug Charges
Like other criminal cases, you may be able to raise constitutional challenges to your arrest, such as if there was no probable cause to stop you, challenges to the drug testing procedure, and other defenses to a DUI drug charge. A few that are specific to these cases include:
- Entitlement to use. If you have a prescription to use a controlled substance, you can raise this as an affirmative defense. However, it is not a defense if the controlled substance is marijuana. In addition, even if you have the right to use the drug, you can be charged with driving under the influence of drugs if they impair your ability to drive safely.
- Voluntary intoxication. If you were taking a medication as it was prescribed and did not realize how it would affect your driving, this can be raised as a defense.
- Involuntary intoxication. Involuntary intoxication is a complete defense to a DUI drug charge. You could raise this defense if someone gave you the drugs without your knowledge.
Have you been charged with driving under the influence of drugs in Maryland? You need an experienced DUI lawyer to mount an aggressive defense strategy to fight the charges if you want to achieve the best outcome possible. To learn about my extensive experience in these cases and how I can help you, start a live chat to schedule your free consultation today.