Columbia drivers need to be aware of the drugged driving risks and consequences. You need to know what could happen if you are arrested for drugged driving, or if you opt to drive while under the influence of drugs. By understanding possible risks and penalties, you can make a more informed choice not to get behind the wheel after using drugs. If you are caught for drugged driving, you'll also know what to expect and why it is so important to get legal help if you are charged with a crime.
There are many consequences which could result from the decision to drive while under the influence of drugs. One possible consequence is that you could be arrested and charged with a serious crime.
South Carolina Code Section 56-5-2930 is the South Carolina statute that addresses the problem of drugged driving. This statute makes it unlawful to drive under the influence of any "drug or a combination of drugs or other substances which causes impairment to the extent that the person's faculties to drive a motor vehicle are materially and appreciably impaired."
Penalties under this statute can include a $400 fine and/or imprisonment for at least 48 hours for the first offense, with consequences becoming progressively more serious if you are a repeat drugged driving offender.
Criminal penalties are not the only possible consequence of drugged driving either. You could also find yourself involved in a serious or deadly car accident. Recently, USA Today issued a troubling warning about the increasing dangers of drugged driving accidents.
According to the data from USA Today, a total of 21 percent of all fatal auto accidents that occurred in the United States in 2015 involved a driver who tested positive for having drugs in his system following the collision. This is a big increase from just a decade ago. In 2005, only 12 percent of drivers who were tested for drugs after deadly accidents tested positive for having drugs in their system.
The data was enough to prompt the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator to indicate that 'drugs are emerging as a more significant factor as a cause of crashes.'
If you are involved in a crash and you are accused of having drugs in your system when that crash happened, the penalties could be far more severe than if you simply are charged with a basic drugged driving offense. You could also face a civil lawsuit from crash victims, could be hurt yourself in the accident, and could find yourself with a lifetime of guilt if you hurt or killed someone else as a result of the car crash.
You do not want to take a risk of driving while drugged. If you are going to be using drugs, including prescription drugs that could cause you to become too impaired to drive safely, you should make sure you have a designated driver or an alternative way to get home.