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Drugged Driving vs. Drunk Driving

Thumbnail image for Drinking-Driving-1060262.jpgMost Americans constantly hear messages discussing the dangers and consequences of drunk driving and texting while driving. Currently, the growing problem of drugged driving has also come to the forefront of discussion. Not only is drugged driving illegal in Michigan, serious criminal repercussions will arise for individuals if convicted. Read on to learn more.

Drugged Driving vs. Drunk Driving

Common "street" drugs such as marijuana and cocaine have been known to impair a person's driving skills. Prescription drugs such as oxycontin, also impair perception of time and speed, judgment, and motor skills as well.

In a study of seriously injured drivers, 26.9% tested positive for marijuana while 11.6% tested positive for cocaine, and 5.6% tested positive for either methamphetamine or amphetamine.

Research also shows that impairment increases significantly when alcohol and drugs are used simultaneously. Though drugged driving may be less detectable than drunk driving, more people do the former in comparison to the latter.

In a national survey, drugs were present more than 7 times as frequently as alcohol among weekend nighttime drivers in the U.S., with 16% testing positive for drugs, compared to 2% testing at or above the legal limit for alcohol.

Alcohol also metabolizes faster than marijuana which can impact perception and reaction time for up to 24 hours after consumption. Though some people strongly believe that driving under the influence of drugs is not as dangerous than alcohol, both are illegal in Michigan. Both drugs and alcohol can severely impair motor skills and impact judgment resulting in serious bodily harm.

Criminal Penalties

New legislation was recently passed that enhanced the criminal penalties for drugged driving in Michigan. Drugged drivers will not only have their driver's license restricted but their chemical analysis results will be placed into the Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN).

If you are convicted of drugged driving (first offense), you could face up to $100 to $500 in court fines, up to 93 days in jail and community services up to 360 hours, and your driver's license may be suspended for up to 180 days. If this is your second offense, you may serve anywhere between 5 days to a year in jail, and your driver's license will be revoked for a year. Under the current law, if you are convicted of drugged driving, you are not be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle unless ordered by the court.

If you have been arrested for drugged driving in the Washtenaw County area, contact Ann Arbor criminal defense attorney Stacey Washington to help you navigate through this difficult situation in your life. Stacey Washington has helped a number of clients mitigate any long-term consequences of drugged driving.


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