The state of Pennsylvania has zero tolerance when it comes to drugged driving. The term drugged driving refers to driving under the influence of drugs or a combination of drugs that impair driving. Although most of the drugged driving offenses that occur involve one or more controlled substances, the law also relates to any drug that could impair driving or any drug not prescribed to the individual operating the vehicle.
Drugged driving is a problem nationwide, but in Pennsylvania, a driver can be arrested if a police officer suspects that a driver is under the influence of a drug, particularly a controlled substance.
Drugged Driving in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania’s drugged driving legislation is strict. Officers do not even have to provide evidence of impaired driving to make an arrest if they have a reasonable suspicion that a driver is under the influence of drugs.1
The state’s drugged driving laws were enacted to prevent people driving under the influence of controlled substances, which include both illicit and prescription drugs. Prescription drug abuse is a serious problem in the state of Pennsylvania. Individuals who drive while under the influence of a prescription drug that is not prescribed to them are subject to these laws.
Upon arrest, drivers suspected of drugged driving will be asked to submit to blood and urine tests. Drivers who refuse to provide consent will have their driver’s license suspended and their refusal may be used against them during any associated trial proceedings.
If drivers do submit to these tests, they may choose to take additional tests with a healthcare provider of their choosing. These supplementary tests may also be used as evidence in any court proceedings. Pennsylvania does not recognize that a person suspected of drugged driving has a right to consult with their attorney when deciding whether to provide their consent for blood or urine testing.
Drugged Driving Penalties
Pennsylvania has established various penalties for drugged driving offenses. For a first offense, drivers will face imprisonment that may range from 72 hours to 6 months. They will also be required to pay a fine between $1,000 and $5,000. A second offense requires an imprisonment of no less than 90 days, and fines increase substantially with subsequent offenses. Other penalties may also arise if the drugged driving has caused a collision or harmed another person in some way. Each offense also results in the loss of a driver’s license for a prescribed period of time that lengthens with each subsequent offense.
Drugged driving is a serious offense in Pennsylvania. Driving under the influence of drugs like marijuana, cocaine, heroin or other controlled substances is associated with strict penalties.2 If you’ve incurred one or more offenses, you will need legal help, but you should also check in to treatment as you may have a substance use disorder. If you do suspect that you have a problem with drugs or alcohol, contact a treatment center today to find out more about how treatment can help you and help prevent you from engaging in high-risk behaviors like drugged driving.