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Stoned driving vs. drunk driving. Are they the same thing?

Everyone knows that driving after consuming too much alcohol can be dangerous to not only the driver but others on the road as well. Despite this, there are times that individuals get behind the wheel to drive without realizing that they are past the legal limit. If they are pulled over by law enforcement, it is likely that the amount of alcohol in their blood will be tested. Under the law, driving with a BAC of .08 or higher is against the law.

Determining impairment of drivers who are stoned as a result of smoking marijuana is not as easy. This is in part due to the fact that traces of the drug can be found in a person’s body long after the high is gone. Nonetheless, drivers who are suspected of being stoned while driving could face arrest.

A report issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that a driver’s use of marijuana results in an impairment of:

  • Cognitive functions
  • Lane tracking
  • Divided attention
  • Psychomotor skills

An impairment of these things could lead to a crash occurring. While this may be true, a different survey based on information collected in Virginia Beach, Virginia, suggests that an increased likelihood in crashes occurring involving drivers who use marijuana may have less to do with the use of the drug, and more to do with the demographic the drivers fit into. Young men are particularly at high risk for being involved in a motor vehicle accident and many marijuana users are both that age and gender.

Regardless of whether someone faces criminal charges for drunk or stoned driving, it is important that the accused take steps to build a defense. Contacting a criminal defense lawyer is generally the best approach.

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