Traffic Law DUI/DWI Newsletters

Criminal Offense of Driving Under the Influence of Drugs

The criminal offense of driving under the influence of drugs is similar to the criminal offense of driving while under the influence of alcohol. The crime of driving under the influence of drugs is codified and defined in the same statute as drunk driving in most states. The elements of driving under the influence of drugs are also virtually identical to the elements for drunk driving.

Criminal Offense of Driving without a Valid Driver’s License

It is illegal to drive a vehicle on a street or highway without a valid driver’s license. The right to drive an automobile on public roads is a privilege and not a right. The right to operate a motor vehicle is granted by the state, and its use depends upon the motorist complying with the conditions prescribed in granting the license.

Criminal Offense of Improper Lane Usage

A motorist is under a duty to have all of his vehicle on the right side of the road, and while the driver of an approaching car is charged with the duty of exercising proper care to avoid a collision, he has the right to presume that the motorist of the vehicle on the wrong side of the road will move over entirely to his own side. This idea is incorporated into statutes governing improper lane usage. By its terms, if a roadway is divided into two or more marked lanes of traffic, a motorist must stay in his lane of traffic so far as possible or practical and may not move from his lane without first ascertaining that such a movement could be safely done.

Penalties for Criminal Offense of Driving While Impaired

The penalties for driving while impaired tend to be less harsh than the penalties for driving while under the influence or driving while intoxicated. The penalties for driving while impaired do vary depending upon the state. In most cases the offense for a first time offender is considered a misdemeanor.

Role of Expert Testimony in Drunk Driving Cases

When an individual has been charged with drunk driving, the State will often present expert testimony concerning chemical tests. The State is required to provide a proper foundation for chemical tests. However, if the defense can show that the State’s expert lacked the required qualifications or that another key component of a proper foundation for admissibility is missing, the defense can object to the admission of the chemical tests. Although courts may allow an expert to testify regarding the results of tests done by a lab technician under the expert’s direct supervision, the evidence can be excluded if the defense can show that the expert witness had no knowledge about the details of the chemical analysis other than what the technician reported.

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