Oklahoma Drugged Driving & Prescriptions

Driving under the influence of drugs – illegal and prescription

My reading of history convinces me that
most bad government
results from too much government.

The law in Oklahoma allows for prosecution if you are under the influence of ANY substance that will impair your ability to drive.  The most common item is alcohol but many drugs can produce a form of impairment. Illegal drugs such as marijuana, crack cocaine, and PCP are a few of the 6 main categories a police officer will be looking for.  Included in the 6 classifications of impairing drugs can are many prescription medications, one of the most common being narcotic analgesics.  Valium, Zanex and Loritab are but a few of other commonly prescribed drugs which people may legally possess with a valid prescription from their physician yet still result in an arrest if they are driving while under their influence.

Additionally, Oklahoma has recently amended the DUI statute where the presence of any Schedule 1 drug or the metabolite of any Schedule 1 drug is per se DUI.  This basically means that the presence of it in your system is the same as having tested a .08 or more.  Marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug.

There is a program designed through the Department of Transportation to train officers to be Drug Recognition Experts (DRE).  Mr. Edge and Mr. Hunsucker have both been trained as Drug Recognition Experts.  Once an officer on the street suspects drug impairment, there is a 12-step evaluation procedure that is undertaken to determine if an arrest is warranted.

There have not been any credible studies to support the position that DRE exams have any scientific basis of reliability.  Another problem is that there are very few officers trained in drug recognition evaluation and the trained ones often will ignore the procedures and just make a guess. This results in an arrest but it also opens the door for a vigorous defense by properly trained DUI attorneys with DRE training.

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