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Impaired driving includes more than just alcohol

Massachusetts drivers may have seen a viral video of a motorist who was found slumped over behind the wheel of his van in the middle of a busy street. According to police, he had apparently overdosed on heroin and was treated with the overdose antidote Narcan. According to news reports, the police went to the hospital to talk to the man, but he was released before they arrived. A police lieutenant said that this was just one of a rising number of similar incidents.

According to a representative of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the number of traffic incidents involving illicit drugs is increasing. One of the most attention-grabbing was last fall when two parents were photographed passed out from an overdose in the front seats of their van while their young child sat in the rear.

In recent years, the number of drivers testing positive for drugs as well as the number of fatalities in drug-related crashes have been steadily increasing. In response, police have been expanding their impaired driving enforcement beyond their traditional alcohol-centered campaigns.

This creates a situation where some drivers may improperly face OUI charges. Officers unfamiliar with non-alcohol OUI stops may misinterpret drivers who are tired or ill as under the influence. There is also the possibility that officers without much experience in administering field sobriety tests that detect illegal drug use may do so improperly.

People who have been charged with OUI have a right to assert their constitutional rights and fight the allegations. The law has many gray areas, and an experienced OUI attorney may be able to help beat or reduce a charge.

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Anthony M. Salerno, P.C.
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