Recently, Tiger Woods was arrested on suspicion of DUI, however, news reports after his arrest have stated that he blew a 0.00 on his breathalyzer. How is it possible to get arrested for a DUI with no alcohol involved? The answer: “Controlled Substance DUI”
In Alabama, there is no strict requirement for alcohol to be involved in order for someone to be guilty of DUI. In fact, Alabama’s DUI statute designates many different types of DUI offenses, including a “controlled substance” DUI found at Code of Alabama §32-5A-191(A)(3), which states that “a person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance to a degree which renders him or her incapable of safely driving.”
A controlled substance, for purposes of the DUI statute, includes any federally categorized controlled substance in Schedules I – V. Certainly this includes all completely illegal substances such as cocaine, heroin or marijuana, but also includes prescription pills, even if you have a prescription for them! Simply because you are allowed to legally possess or ingest a controlled substance, does not give you the right to drive a vehicle while under the influence of that substance. This is the reason why doctors instruct patients not to operate heavy machinery or drive while taking a certain prescription.
Controlled substance DUIs are generally tougher to prove because there is not a definitive way to test for someone’s present influence or consumption of substances like a breathalyzer test can do for alcohol. Some police departments throughout the country have implemented special training for drug recognition so that officers can be equipped to detect signs of controlled substance use; though a string of cases in Cobb County, Georgia shows that this drug recognition process is not an exact science, and may lead to the arrest of sober drivers.
At the end of the day, if your taking any medication be sure to check it’s side effects and how it interacts with any other medications you’re taking and how it may impact your ability to drive.