What is Drugged Driving?
Presently in the state of New Hampshire, a person may be charged with drugged driving if he or she is believed to have attempted to drive a vehicle while under the influence of a drug that causes a driver to be impaired. The standard definition of “under the influence” means a person has a sufficient quantity of an intoxicating liquor or controlled drug, or a combination of the two, so that his or her ability to operate a vehicle safely is impaired to some degree. Essentially, the law currently states that if a drug impairs a person’s ability to drive, it is considered drugged driving and is therefore illegal.
New Drugged Driving Legislation
In 2010, new legislation was introduced regarding driving under the influence of drugs which changes the prohibition of driving under the influence of a controlled drug. The upcoming law, which will be officially signed by New Hampshire Governor John Lynch, will broaden the definition of driving under the influence of drugs to include not only controlled drugs, but over-the counter-drugs as well as any other chemical substance, whether natural or synthetic, or its metabolites that impairs an individual’s ability to drive.
Controversy Concerning the New Law
The controversy regarding this bill is the vague language, which opponents of this legislation feel will lead to more DWI arrests. In addition, the minority report by the representatives who opposed the bill assert that there is “no legal standard of measurement based on scientific or other criteria, to determine limits on the amounts of metabolites that could lead to impaired or reckless driving behavior”. Overall, while proponents of this bill claim the state is moving more toward a more “zero tolerance” policy which will improve safety on the roads and deter drivers from driving under the influence, opponents assert that the broad definition of drugs, the non-scientific basis for including metabolites, and the issues with detecting the impairment of a driver (i.e., drug tests only test for drug use), may lead to arrests of drivers who may not deserve it.
Protecting the Rights of New Hampshire DUI Defendants
The New Hampshire DWI defense lawyers of Anzalone Law understand that changes in current laws are intended to protect the safety of NH residents, but mistakes made during traffic stops or DUI checkpoints, as well as a misinterpretation of “impaired”