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Lawmakers seek to change law for New York drug DUI

On Behalf of | May 7, 2024 | Criminal Justice |

When there is a traffic stop in New York and the investigating officer suspects the driver is under the influence, it is increasingly common that the intoxicating substance they are alleged to have used is a drug of some kind. It can be an illicit drug like heroin, methamphetamine or cocaine or it could be a prescription medication.

Drivers who are confronted with these allegations generally have a strategic path to lodge an effective defense. It could involve a misstep by the officer when investigating, problems with the blood tests to determine what the driver had in their system, a negative reaction to a medication despite having taken it legally or no drugs having been ingested at all.

However, there is a chance that the laws as they currently stand could be changing. Knowing how is a fundamental part of adapting the defense strategy to avoid a conviction.

Legislator strives to change DUI drug law

Lawmakers are trying to address what they think is an exploitable loophole in how DUI drug cases are handled. Their objective is for punishments to be meted out fairly. The categorization of illegal drugs is where they see a problem and it stems from how health laws are written.

Increasingly, synthetic drugs are being brought into the United States from outside the country and can be manipulated by manufacturers so they are not considered illegal. The manufacturers are believed to see what is legal and illegal and change the formula to skirt the spirit of the law. If drivers are stopped on suspicion of DUI for drugs, this will clearly impact how the case is prosecuted.

Under the bill that was recently introduced, a fundamental change to current drug laws would adjust how “drugs” are defined. It would say the definition of intoxicating drug would mean the substance itself or a combination of substances that would hinder a person’s ability to drive safely and violate the law. Then drivers could face DUI charges. The law is still under discussion and debate.

People should be attentive about possible changes to the law

Although this is simply up for discussion, people who are facing DUI charges or other criminal law violations need to be aware of how changes could be used in their specific case. The defense needs to be specifically tailored to the charges to try and reach a positive result. This is particularly important for drug DUI where it can be costly in myriad ways legally, personally and professionally.

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