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Baltimore DUI Drug Lawyer

People can be charged with a DUI for drug-related impairment. There are two types of drug-related DUI charges in Baltimore:

  • the 21-902(c) offense—driving under the influence of prescription medication or a combination of prescription medication and alcohol, and
  • the 21-902(d) offense—driving under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance, which is usually some kind of illegal drug or prescription drug not taken as prescribed.

Both of these offenses can lead to charges for drug-related driving impairment.

You can be charged with drug-related impairment even when the drugs are legal or prescribed. The 21-902(c) offense is absolutely specific to that. Even if you’re taking your prescription medication as prescribed, if it impairs your driving by itself or when mixed with alcohol—even a very small amount of alcohol—that can lead to a charge of violating 21-902(c).

If a substance causes impairment, it falls into the 21-902(c) catchall category. The concern with that statute is impairment, regardless of which drugs caused the impairment. Any over-the-counter medication, prescription medication or medication interaction would fall under the big category of a 21-902(c) offense in Maryland.

Mistakes to Avoid in Baltimore Drug DUI Cases

One of the biggest mistakes a person can make is admitting to their DUI drug charges. Another mistake is agreeing to speak to a drug recognition evaluator and participating in that evaluation. There is no legal penalty for refusing to speak to a drug recognition evaluator, and that report is only going to be used against you. It’s usually in the interest of an individual who’s charged with impaired driving to not speak to a drug recognition evaluator.

How Law Enforcement Proves Impairment

Officers will try to prove impairment by pointing to your driving behavior, your performance in the field sobriety tests and the results of the drug recognition evaluator’s evaluation. That’s why it’s a good idea for individuals to refuse the evaluation since there’s no legal penalty and it will be one of the main sources of evidence that the state will use to try to prove impairment.

There are a couple of steps in testing for the presence of drugs. The first step is the standard DUI process: examining your driving and looking at your performance during field sobriety tests on the side of the road.

Once you are arrested and taken back to the station, that’s where the case starts to look different than an alcohol-related DUI. In a typical drug-related DUI in Baltimore, you will blow into a Breathalyzer at the station, and the result will be zero. At that point, the officer will call in a drug recognition evaluator and ask you to speak to that evaluator. That’s a totally voluntary conversation and there’s no legal penalty for refusing it. And if you’ve been arrested for a DUI, you absolutely should refuse it. However, if you do not refuse, then the drug recognition evaluator will go through an evaluation with you.

Finally, officers will ask you to submit to a chemical test of blood. If you refuse the blood test, the penalties in Maryland are exactly the same as refusing a breath test for an alcohol-related DUI.

Value of a Baltimore DUID Attorney

Drug DUI charges in Baltimore are extremely complicated. There’s a lot more nuance in a typical 21-902(c) offense than there is in a regular drunk driving case. Having somebody who really understands that area of law and who’s had experience defending those types of cases is always beneficial.

The penalties are different depending on the type of offense. The maximum penalty for a C offense is 60 days of incarceration and the maximum penalty for a D offense is one year of actual incarceration.

Involuntary Intoxication as a Defense

Involuntary intoxication can be a defense. For instance, if somebody slips something into your drink unbeknownst to you, that can be a defense to a DUI. However, those are very, very rare. There’s also the defense that you didn’t know that a medication would impair you, but that is usually not a good defense to a DUI case.