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Questions and Answers about Kentucky’s Driving Under the Influence of Drugs Law

driving under the influence (dui) in Louisville, KY

Driving under the influence of drugs is a serious charge that can have major repercussions for your career and personal life. Learn more below about how you can be charged for driving under the influence of drugs, both legal or illegal, and speak with a knowledgeable Kentucky criminal defense lawyer right away after you’re charged with DUI drugs.

How can law enforcement officers find out whether I’m under the influence of drugs? You probably know that it is illegal to drive in Kentucky with a blood alcohol level of .08% or higher. Police officers measure this by administering a blood, breath, or urine test, which must be completed within two hours of the driver being pulled over (called the “cessation of driving” in the law). Under Kentucky’s law on driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, KRS 189A.010(1)(d), it is illegal for someone to drive a motor vehicle while the presence of any one of a long list of drugs or controlled substances is in their system. The police may use any “scientifically reliable test” or tests within two hours after the cessation of driving to detect the presence of a controlled substance in the blood.

What drugs are illegal to use before getting behind the wheel?

  • In addition to illegal drugs such as heroin and cocaine, otherwise legal drugs that could result in a DUI charge include:
  • Amphetamines, variations of which are sometimes used to treat ADD/ADHD
  • Oxycodone, a pain reliever
  • Alprazolam, also known as Xanax, an anxiety drug
  • Diazepam, also known as Valium, which is used to treat anxiety and seizures
  • Hydrocodone, also known as Vicodin, a pain reliever
  • Promethazine, an antihistamine
  • Zolpidem, also known as Ambien, a sedative
  • Unlike DUI charges for intoxication from alcohol, there is no minimum amount that must be present in the user’s system for one to face charges. Additionally, some of these drugs can linger in your system for a long time after taking them; you might not even realize you’d still test positive for these drugs when you’re driving.

Could I be arrested for driving while on my prescription medication? You might be surprised to learn that yes, you can be arrested for driving while on medication you’ve been prescribed by a doctor. The law states that being legally entitled to use a substance will not serve as a defense to charges of driving under the influence or while intoxicated. However, if you’ve taken the drug according to a doctor’s prescription, then prosecutors will not be allowed to introduce lab tests showing the presence of those substances in your system. Instead, prosecutors will be required to use other evidence to show that your ability to drive was impaired when you were pulled over. Having an attorney on your side to argue for your ability to operate a vehicle safely is critical.

If you’ve been charged with a DUI, DWI, or DUI drugs in Kentucky and need trustworthy legal help to fight those charges, contact the dedicated and aggressive Louisville DUI defense attorney Ron Aslam for a consultation, at 502-581-1676.