Law enforcement in the Kansas City area takes drunk driving seriously. But they also treat drugged driving severely. In fact, if you’re convicted of driving under the influence of drugs, you could end up facing several months in jail, a large fine, and you could get your license suspended or revoked. A conviction can also leave you facing employment and housing woes. This means that if you’ve been accused of drugged driving, you need to be prepared to take immediate action to defend yourself.
Defending yourself against allegations of drugged driving
To start your defense, it’s important to realize that you can be charged with a crime if law enforcement suspects that you’re under the influence of any drug, whether it’s legal or illegal. Therefore, even if you have a prescription for medical marijuana, you could be charged with driving under the influence of drugs if an officer believes that you’re high while driving.
The same holds true for prescription medication. If your medicine leaves you feeling tired or disoriented, it’s probably best to stay off the road to avoid the possibility of being hit with criminal charges.
But what if you are accused of drugged driving? What can you do to protect your interests and your future? Let’s look at some of your defense options:
- Illegal stop: One defense option at your disposal may be to argue that you were illegally stopped, meaning that law enforcement didn’t have reasonable suspicion that you committed a crime before initiating its traffic stop. In these situations, any evidence of criminal wrongdoing that is gathered subsequent to the illegal stop may be suppressed, which would make it extremely difficult for the prosecution to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
- Provide alternative explanations: Even if a police officer administers a field sobriety test that you ultimately fail, you may be able to provide alternative explanations for your behavior other than drug or alcohol use. For example, you might be able to point to a medical condition that causes you to lose your balance or slur your speech.
- Be prepared to address expert testimony: In a lot of drugged driving cases, law enforcement doesn’t have concrete evidence that the driver has used a certain drug. Instead, they file charges based on their observations. Sometimes, these law enforcement officers are allowed to testify as experts in drug recognition. You need to be prepared to counter this testimony so that you can diminish its persuasive effect over the judge and jury.
- Chain of custody issues: You may have been subjected to a blood test that the prosecution is going to rely on to show that you were under the influence of drugs. You might be able to challenge the reliability and even the admissibility of these test results, though, if you can show that the sample was improperly taken, stored or tested.
Aggressively fight to protect your future
The ramifications of a criminal conviction are severe. But as stressful as it can be to face criminal charges, you may have strong criminal defense strategies at your fingertips. You simply have to educate yourself about your options and then aggressively utilize them in your case.
Figuring out how best to approach your case can seem overwhelming, though, especially as you’re just trying to navigate your day-to-day life after being charged. But that’s where an experienced law firm like ours can step in to help. So, if you want to know more about how to avoid the harsh penalties that the prosecution is seeking to impose on you, now may be the time to reach out to an advocate who you think will aggressively fight for you.