Understanding drugged driving stops in Utah

Drugged driving a focus of police in Utah.

Many Utah drivers are familiar with law enforcement’s efforts to reduce drunk driving across the state. Some of these individuals may have encountered sobriety checkpoints, or traveled in regions where police presence was increased due to the number of DUIs happening in the area.

While several of these motorists make a choice to abstain from alcohol when they are out driving, there can be other substances that may cause a person to become impaired. Illegal drugs, such as marijuana, and prescription medications, like Oxycontin, could both form the basis for DUI charges should the motorist demonstrate signs of impairment while behind the wheel.

Stops where an individual is suspected of being under the influence of drugs are somewhat different from those involving alcohol. While almost all law enforcement officers are trained on the signs of intoxication due to alcohol, only a select few receive the training that allows them to determine if a motorist is under the influence of drugs.

These officers, called drug recognition experts (DREs), respond to a traffic stop when the initial officer requests their assistance. When the DRE arrives, he or she will conduct an investigation to determine if the driver is under the influence of drugs. This involves several steps, including checking the reaction of the driver to various stimuli, which can indicate signs of drug use.

Because of the different behaviors that each drug can cause, it is often difficult for officers to know what drug the individual may have taken before driving. To be able to learn the amount and type of drug in the person’s system, the individual will be required to submit to a chemical test if ordered by the DRE. This test is at the DRE’s discretion, which can place motorists at a distinct disadvantage in the proceedings.

Some individuals may build up a tolerance to certain drugs, and may not be under the influence even if they have the drug in their systems. However, if the tests show the presence of these substances, DUI charges may soon follow.

If you have been charged with drugged driving, you might feel like you have no other option but to plead guilty. You need to know that this is not the case. You should consult an experienced criminal defense attorney to gain a complete review of all of the options available in your specific case.

Your attorney will be able to explain in detail the possible choices that you will have to make at this time. This will allow you to not only understand what would happen if convicted, but also gives you the opportunity to decide what is best for your future. If you plead guilty without being informed, you might cause yourself even more serious problems in the future if you have later offenses.

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