Articles Posted in Dui And Slightest Impairment

It’s no surprise that driving while under the intoxicating effects of drugs is illegal. A question often comes up, however: for how long after using a drug will a motorist be considered to be “under the influence”?

Once someone ingests a drug like cocaine or marijuana, the intoxicating effects wear off after a short time. However, that drug then is broken down by the body in a series of chemical processes. The active ingredient in a drug remains in a person’s system for a certain amount of time, depending on the drug.

When the body breaks down the active ingredient in a drug, there are byproducts called metabolites that are left behind. These metabolites, which register on a blood test, can remain in someone’s system for days or even weeks, depending on the drug and the frequency of use. The common consensus among experts is that most inactive metabolites do not cause intoxication; however, courts are only recently beginning to realize this. A recent case illustrates how one defendant’s conviction was reversed based on inaccurate and misleading jury instructions describing the effects of an inactive metabolite of cocaine.

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In Phoenix, AZ, attorney James Novak knows that DUI and being impaired to the slightest degree are special types of cases. Most drivers think of a DUI as a case where the driver is arrested for driving while having a blood alcohol content over the legal limit of .08%. However, the truth is that another type of DUI is also commonly charged, and that is the charge of DUI and being impaired to the slightest degree. The State has the ability to make both charges, increasing the odds of getting a conviction. This is why it is so important to take an aggressive stand on every DUI case. Part of an effective DUI defense involves defending a charge of being slightly impaired. DUI and being impaired to the slightest degree are two different types of DUI charges, and both deserve your full attention.

What is Being “Impaired to the Slightest Degree”?

Being impaired to the slightest degree is another way for the officer to make a DUI arrest. If a driver is in actual control of a motor vehicle while under the influence, the arresting officer can write a ticket for DUI under the concept of being impaired to the “slightest degree”. This may not be impairment over the .08% legal limit, but is still a charge of DUI nonetheless. The standard used to make this determination is not what one might typically think; the breathalyzer test. And even though a breath test is subject to attack, there is slightly more scientific reliability to a breath test result than there is to the subjective opinion of an officer making a claim of slight impairment. Things like bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, walking unsteadily, and having an odor of alcohol about your person are all factors an officer will point to when making a slightly impaired DUI arrest. These subjective “facts” can be difficult to overcome, but not impossible. A qualified DUI defense attorney will know where to expose weaknesses in the case against you and minimize the chance of a conviction.

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