“Under The Influence” in Louisiana Means More Than Just Alcohol

People are often surprised to find out that Louisiana’s DWI law covers more than just alcohol.  The relevant statute, LA R.S. 14:98, includes pretty much all forms of impairment that derive from a chemical means.  In other words, it does not really matter whether you have a prescription, or you drank an entire bottle of over-the-counter cough syrup. If you are impaired and the officer feels that a drug– legal or otherwise– affected your ability to drive a car, you are covered by the DWI law.
The laws are written broadly enough to include supposedly legal things such as Mojo – a marijuana substitute frequently sold at head shops and some gas stations.  We have had several arrests where people told the officer they had just smoked synthetic marijuana.  That can be a difficult issue, because the product comes in an almost countless number of formulations– many of which do not come up on a drug test.
Another common reason people are charged with DWI is mixing various types of drugs with alcohol.  In such a case, the person’s blood-alcohol level (BAC) will be below the legal limit.  The driver. However, will either tell the officer or test positive for some other kinds of drugs.  In these cases, if the judge believes the person is impaired, the combination of alcohol and medication is enough to usually justify a DWI conviction.
It is important to be clear with the officer exactly when a drug was consumed.  Many people report that the officer asked if they have a prescription for a particular drug but did not ask when they last used the medication.  In such an instance, the arresting officer will just assume the person took the drug shortly before the stop.

We have successfully fought drug DWI cases.  It is not uncommon for someone to test “positive” on a drug test following a DWI arrest.  Prescription drugs, as well as illegal ones, can stay in your system, sometimes for weeks after taking them. Presence does not necessarily mean impairment.

— Written by Greg Gouner
May we help you with a legal situation? To schedule a private consultation, call the Gouner Law Office at 225-293-6200 or toll free 800-404-1921You can also fill out our contact form.

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