Police claim that the streets in Lake Charles may be less safe than most people think. According to officials, as many as 25 percent of Louisiana drivers are intoxicated by drugs or alcohol at any given time. A task force recently suggested establishing another way to combat these offenses outside of drunk driving charges, which would involve creating a new criminal offense — driving under the influence of drugs, or a DUID.
Blood tests performed on suspected intoxicated drivers in 2017 showed higher levels of marijuana and opioids than results from 2016. This is not an isolated increase, as data shows that drug use by drivers has increased overall during the past five years. However, it is not clear what percentage of opioid use by drivers is from prescription medication. Currently, drivers who are using prescribed medications cannot be charged for DWI, even if the medication impacts their abilities.
There is also some concern about drivers who supposedly combine alcohol and illegal drugs. Since Breathalyzer tests only register blood-alcohol content, the results might not give an accurate picture of a person’s intoxication. A task force recently suggested that Louisiana invest in better forensic labs to measure intoxication levels more accurately.
Drunk driving is a serious offense that can impact every facet of a person’s future. Lake Charles defendants can even lose their driving privileges without a conviction, which may leave them without reliable transportation to school or work. Those who hope to retain their right to drive may want to consider beginning criminal defense preparations as early on in the process as possible.