Driving while being impaired by a drug in the state of Connecticut is illegal. The legal limit for driving under the influence of alcohol is 0.08%, meaning a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher is considered driving under the influence. Unlike alcohol, there is not a clear legal limit for driving under the influence of drugs. It is harder to define drugged driving, so it is focused on the driver’s level of impairment. You can learn more about a Middletown drug DUI charge on this page.
A drug recognition expert (DRE) process is a method that law enforcement in Connecticut uses to analyze the impairment level of a driver. Although similar to a field sobriety test, the DRE process is more systematic and subjective as it looks at a person’s muscle tone, pupils, pulse, and more. Because a normal breathalyzer test will not clearly detect a person’s level of drug intoxication like it would detect alcohol, Connecticut law enforcement has special training to evaluate and detect a suspect.
Evaluation of pulse rate, blood pressure, muscle tone, body temperature, and pupil size are all factors that come into play for a DRE process. A recent internal bulletin sent to law enforcement by the Connecticut Police Officer Standards and Training changed the handling of stopping and searching motor vehicles. It stated that officers can no longer justify the smell of marijuana as probable cause for pulling over and searching a vehicle.
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Connecticut has made a systematic procedure for assessment of a person’s drug intoxication levels, even though there is currently no nationally developed system. There are 12 steps to the DRE, or drug evaluation process. The breath test comes first, then an interview of the arresting officer, followed by a preliminary examination and pulse check.
Next, an eye exam, divided attention psychophysical test, vital sign and second pulse check, examination of pupils, muscle tone, a third pulse check, and injection site checks. Then a statement will be made by the suspect, a determination of impairment is made, and a toxicological examination will be requested. All of this is done before a drug recognition expert can make a determination as to the intoxication or lack thereof of the driver.
Drug DUI Penalties
Drug DUI offenders face similar punishments to alcohol DUIs. They include the possibilities of license suspension, jail, community service, probation, ignition interlock device, consequences from the DMV, and fines around $500-$1,000 typically. Elicit substances such as cocaine or methamphetamines, as well as prescription drugs, can cause a drug DUI. However, driving under the influence of legal drugs such as marijuana or prescribed drugs can also result in a drug DUI charge.
The amount of trained drug recognition officers in Connecticut will keep rising, and residents and travelers of Middletown should be aware of the consequences of being arrested for driving under the influence of any substance. If you have been convicted of a drug or alcohol DUI in Middletown, contact Lady DUI today.