Greensburg Drugged Driving Lawyer | Drugged Driving Charges | Worgul, Sarna & Ness
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If you are pulled over in Greensburg because of erratic driving or another traffic violation, the officer who approaches will be looking for signs that you have been drinking or taking drugs. The officer is going to take a look into your car to see if there are alcohol containers, drugs, or drug paraphernalia. They will observe your physical state, including whether they can smell alcohol or drugs, like marijuana. They will also assess whether your eyes look red or glossy. They will pay close attention to the answers you provide, including whether you slur your words. If officers reasonably believe that you are impaired due to alcohol or drugs, you will be placed under arrest for a DUI.

If the police have evidence that you were impaired by drugs or had controlled substances in your system while driving, then you will be charged with a drugged driving DUI. In this situation, you need to call a drugged driving lawyer to defend you. At Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, our DUI lawyers in Greensburg have decades of experience handling drugged driving charges around Westmoreland County and know what it takes to obtain the best possible outcomes.

You can contact us online or call (724) 834-1275 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

What Is Drugged Driving?

In addition to the drunk driving statutes, Pennsylvania also has drugged driving laws that prohibit driving, operating, or being in control of a vehicle while impaired due to one or more drugs.

Under Pa. Code §3802(d), you are prohibited from driving, operating, or being in actual physical control of the movement of a vehicle under the following circumstances:

  • Pa. Code §3802(d)(1)(i)-(iii): When there is any amount of a Schedule I, II, or III controlled substances or a metabolite of a substance in your blood, and you do not have a valid medical prescription for the drug.
  • Pa. Code §3802(d)(2): You are under the influence of a drug or combination of drugs to a degree that impairs your ability to safely drive, operate, or be in actual physical control of the movement of a vehicle.
  • Pa. Code §3802(d)(3): You are under the combined influence of alcohol and a drug or combination of drugs that impairs your ability to safely drive, operate, or be in actual physical control of the movement of a vehicle.
  • Pa. Code §3802(d)(4): You are under the influence of a solvent or noxious substance.

If this is your first drugged driving offense, you will face an ungraded misdemeanor charge. If it is your second drugged driving charge, it is a first-degree misdemeanor.

Which Drugs Can Lead to Drug Driving Charges?

Pennsylvania’s drugged driving law is extensive and encompasses driving while having any controlled substances in your system. Notice that under these statutes, the controlled substance does not have to impair your abilities. It only has to be present in your blood for the prosecutor to be able to charge you with drugged driving.

You also should note that Pennsylvania’s law references “drugs,” in general, not just controlled substances. This is not an accident or mistake in the law. Referring to drugs instead of controlled substances allows the prosecutor to charge you with a crime if you are impaired by any drug, whether it is illegal, a prescription, or an over-the-counter medication. In fact, drugged driving on prescription drugs is not a rare occurrence. Prescription drug abuse, particularly opioids, is a growing problem in Greensburg and around the state.

Penalties for Drugged Driving in Greensburg

If you are arrested and charged with a first-time drugged driving offense, you will face charges comparable to a first DUI with a BAC lower than .10 percent. For this ungraded misdemeanor, you may be punished with:

  • Up to six months of imprisonment, with a minimum of 72 hours in jail
  • Fines up to $5,000
  • Driver’s license suspension for 12 months
  • Alcohol highway safety school
  • Drug and/or alcohol treatment

If this is your second drugged driving arrest, you will be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. This can be punished with:

  • Up to five years in prison, with a minimum of 90 days in prison
  • Fines up to $10,000.
  • Driver’s license suspension for 12 months
  • Alcohol highway safety school
  • Drug and/or alcohol treatment

To learn more about the possible penalties you face for a first, second, or subsequent drugged driving charge, call a drugged driving lawyer from Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys.

Drugged Driving Accidents & Fatalities

If you are involved in a crash, the police will look for signs that you are impaired due to drugs or alcohol. Unfortunately, drug- and alcohol-related accidents are not uncommon in Greensburg. Also, the police know which drugs account for the most drugged driving accidents, including marijuana, opioids, amphetamines, cocaine, and prescription sedatives. They will specifically look for clues that you have taken one of these types of drugs before driving.

If the police have reasonable suspicion that you are impaired due to one or more drugs, you can be arrested for drugged driving. You will be asked to submit to a blood test, and if you refuse, the police are likely to get a warrant that demands a blood sample. Your blood will be tested for the presence of alcohol and a wide range of drugs, including prescription drugs and controlled substances.

If you cause an accident when there is a controlled substance in your body, or when you are impaired by any type of drug, then you may face additional charges than a drugged driving offense. You could be charged with aggravated assault by vehicle while driving under the influence (75 Pa. Code §3735.1). Vehicular assault due to drugs is a second-degree felony. You can be penalized with up to 10 years in prison and fines reaching $25,000.

If you cause a drugged driving death, you can be charged with homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence (75 Pa. Code §3735). Vehicular homicide due to drugs is also a second-degree felony, but with a mandatory minimum prison sentence of three years, and an additional three years of imprisonment for each individual killed in the crash.

If you caused an accident when you were impaired due to a drug, call a drugged driving attorney immediately. You may face a DUI charge as well as a vehicular assault or homicide offense. You will need an experienced and skilled attorney to defend you.

Defending Against Drugged Driving Charges

When you are facing a DUI charge based on drug impairment, you need to work with a drugged driving lawyer. There may be possible defenses to the charges, such as:

  • You were not driving, operating, or in actual physical control of the movement of the vehicle.
  • You had only prescription medication in the prescribed amount in your system.
  • You were subject to an unreasonable traffic stop.
  • You were subject to an illegal search or seizure.
  • The blood sample was contaminated.
  • The blood test was not properly administered.
  • The results of the blood test were inaccurate.
  • The testing equipment was not properly calibrated or in some way flawed.

Call a Greensburg Drugged Driving Lawyer For Help

When you have been arrested for drugged driving in Greensburg, PA, it is essential you obtain legal help as soon as possible. By calling the drugged driving attorneys at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, you obtain an experienced, skilled, and aggressive defense. We will work hard to obtain the best possible outcome in your case.

We are available 24/7. Contact us online or call (724) 834-1275 to schedule free and confidential case consultation.

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