Revised DUI Controlled Substance Levels for 2014
In Pennsylvania, a person can be charged with a drug related Driving Under the Influence (DUI) offense if they have been driving a motor vehicle and there is any amount of a Schedule I, II or III controlled substance in their system which has not been medically prescribed. Unlike an alcohol related DUI, a person can be convicted of a controlled substance related DUI even when the person is not truly under the influence of the controlled substance. Controlled substances or their metabolites often remain in a person’s system long after the effects of the controlled substance have completely dissipated. For example, an individual who uses Marijuana on a Saturday night and submits to a blood test several days later is likely to still have a sufficient quantity of marijuana or its metabolite in their system, such that they can be charged with a DUI.
While the law states that any amount of a controlled substance found in a person’s blood constitutes a DUI, there are certain minimum detection levels for controlled substances that must be met before a police officer or prosecutor can admit blood results in a court of law. On January 4, 2014, the Pennsylvania Department of Health published the new minimum levels of controlled substances or their metabolites necessary to permit the admissibility of controlled substance DUI related evidence. Many of the prior minimum detection levels have been reduced, making it more likely that someone with a controlled substance in their system will be charged with a DUI. For instance, the minimum detection level for one of the common metabolites of marijuana was reduced from 5 nanograms/milliliter to 1 nanogram/milliliter. Marijuana has been known to remain in a person’s system for up to thirty (30) days. With these lower detection limits, there are likely to be more DUI arrests, even though the individuals being charged may not truly be impaired at the time of driving.
A conviction for a drug related DUI will result in a mandatory minimum period of incarceration and at least a one year suspension of your driver’s license. Therefore, it is essential that you have an experienced attorney representing you throughout the process to raise any applicable constitutional challenges or defenses on your behalf. For more information concerning DUI offenses and the potential consequences following a DUI arrest, you can click on the following link or contact us at (215) 348-1776.
This article is not legal advice and is provided for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be provided after consultation by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.