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North Carolina and driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) charges

Criminal charges related to driving under the influence most often relate to individuals who are believed to be under the influence of alcohol. However, DUI charges may also result in cases where a driver is believed to be under the influence of drugs. In North Carolina, a driver who is found to be under the influence of a Schedule 1 controlled substance or "other impairing substances," will face criminal charges related to driving under the influence of drugs or DUID.

Much like North Carolina's DWI/DUI laws for alcohol, the state's DUID laws are among some of the harshest in the country. When it comes to DUID cases, North Carolina's per se statute prohibits drivers from having a "drug or metabolite in one's body/body fluids while operating a motor vehicle."

In a recent blog post, we discussed the potential benefits for drivers who refuse to submit to a Breathalyzer or blood test. The same holds true in DUID matters and drug testing. While, under the state's implied consent law, a driver who refuses to submit to a chemical test will lose his or her driver's license for a period of 12 months, a DUID conviction carries much harsher penalties.

If convicted of DUID, an individual will also face a minimum 12-month driver's license revocation in addition to other fines and penalties including imprisonment, probation and substance abuse education and treatment courses. In addition to illegal Schedule 1 drugs, a DUID charge may result from use of a prescription drug or potentially even some over-the-counter medications.

Regardless of the circumstances that led to one's arrest, North Carolina residents who are facing criminal charges related to DUID would be wise to contact a criminal defense attorney. Drug levels and intoxication are measured differently than for alcohol and vary greatly depending on the type and quantity of drug involved. An attorney will thoroughly investigate a case and related evidence and defend an individual against criminal charges.

Source: National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, "A State-by-State Analysis of Laws Dealing With Driving Under the Influence of Drugs," April 2, 2015, "Driving Under the Influence of Drugs," April 2, 2015

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