You can be arrested for drunk driving any time you are too impaired to safely operate your vehicle. In most cases, people in Birmingham, the South Side, Titusville, Red Mountain, Woodlawn, Ensley and surrounding areas are arrested for DUI in Alabama because they have a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or higher, which is above the legal limit. However, while drunk driving remains a big concern for law enforcement, things are shifting. Campaigns to stop drunk driving have been pretty successful at getting people to have a designated driver or get another ride home and the number of drunk driving accidents is around record lows.
The problem is, as the number of people driving drunk has gone down, the number of people driving under the influence of drugs has gone up. There is lots of speculation regarding why drugged driving is on-the-rise, with one possible option including the legalization of medicinal and even recreational marijuana use in some states in the U.S. Regardless of the reasons why, the fact that drugged driving is on the rise has come to the attention of law makers and law enforcement. This means a greater chance of laws on drugged driving getting tougher, as well as a greater chance of more police awareness of drugged driving. All of this could lead to more arrests.
Drugged Driving Increasing as Drunk Driving Decreases
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration periodically conducts a Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by drivers. This survey has been conducted on five separate occasions throughout the past four decades. The survey takes place on nighttime hours during the weekend. There are signs warning drivers that a survey site is upcoming, and participation in the survey is optional. Those who decide to participate will be tested to determine if they are drunk or on drugs. They won't be arrested if they are, and their information is collected anonymously.
The NHTSA reported on the results, which showed a 30 percent reduction in the number of people who were driving with a blood alcohol concentration above the limit in 2014 as compared with in 2007. In the most recent NHTSA survey, only one percent of drivers were found to be over-the-limit and only eight percent of motorists total were found to have any alcohol in their systems at all. This is a huge 80 percent decrease compared with the first roadside survey conducted in 1973. Attitudes about drunk driving have changed a lot over the intervening years, likely because of aggressive advocacy and extensive publicity from organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Drugged driving, on the other hand, is becoming more common. Between 2007 and 2014, there was a 16.3 percent increase in the number of weekend nighttime drivers with drugs in their system that could adversely affect driving abilities.
Waay TV reports that it can be hard for law enforcement to effectively prosecute drugged driving. The big challenge in Alabama is there is no legal definition for a level of drugs you can have in your system before you're presumed to be intoxicated. Senator Arthur Orr has sponsored a bill to define the influence limits of both illegal and legal prescription drugs. For example, there would be a limit of 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood if the bill passed. If this goes forward, then there are significant risks to Alabama motorists of ending up being the test case for new drugged driving laws. You need to make sure you protect your rights.
Contact Barclay Law at 866-584-1023 or visit https://www.jmbarclaylaw.com to schedule a consultation with a criminal defense lawyer in Birmingham. Serving South Side, Titusville, Red Mountain, Woodlawn, Ensley and surrounding areas.