Unless an applicable statute contains a restrictive definition of the term "drug," the term is likely to be given a broad definition by the court. In many statutes the term "controlled substance," "impairing substance" or "intoxicating substance" is substituted for the term "drug."
Exception to DUI-DWI Statutes
Statutes making it illegal to drive while under the influence of drugs are generally interpreted and applied in the same manner as DUI-DWI statutes, except according to American Law Reports, the presumptive "impairment" statutes do not apply. In 2006, Virginia and Nevada were the only states to specify quantitative levels for "presumptive" impairment by certain drugs, but others may have surely followed this model.
What if the police cannot determine the type of drug?
Some jurisdictions are strict about the State providing proof of which drug or drugs caused the person to be impaired. The type of intoxicant must be named in the charging document (indictment, accusation, etc.). Some states really do not mandate such proof, so long as credible evidence can be placed in front of the jury to show clear impairment and "symptoms" consistent with sufficient dosage of some drug that has caused impairment.
Is it possible to be charged with DUI-DWI for Paint or Varnish Fumes?
In Oklahoma, toluene, a common substance found in paint, varnishes, polyurethane and similar products, was held to constitute a drug for purposes of a driving while under the influence of drugs statute. So, it is apparent that the fact that you may inadvertently inhale paint fumes while doing your job will not excuse a DUI-DWI offense caused by toluene.
Can I be charged with DUI-DWI because of my Medically Prescribed Drugs?
Yes. Medically necessary drugs that you inject or ingest can lead to you being charged with DUI-DWI if that drug or chemical causes you to be impaired. Medically prescribed insulin has been held to be a drug for purposes of a similar statute. If you have any other specific questions, ask the DUI-DWI specialist attorney handling your case regarding your state's rules. Your DUI-DWI specialist will be able to tell you the specifics regarding your limited driving rights, and the procedure for getting a limited license back if possible. (C) 2006, William C. Head, Atlanta, GA
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