Most drivers know that drinking and driving is illegal, as people often relate driving under the influence with alcohol. However, not many people know what the consequences are for driving under the influence of drugs, and that one may also face an operating while intoxicated (OWI) charge.
Driving under the influence of drugs is serious, which is why there are severe consequences for the crime in Indiana. In 2016, of all the tested individuals killed in driving accidents, over 50 percent of the drivers had two or more drugs in their system.
Drugged driving penalties
Penalties for operating a vehicle while impaired with drugs are the same as operating a vehicle while impaired with alcohol. In both situations, the driver is impaired, which can endanger the lives of themselves and others.
One can impair themselves with legal and illegal drugs, as well as prescription or over-the-counter. Many drivers assume that because they can obtain the drug over-the-counter, they are safe to drive. This is not always the case.
First-offense penalties include:
- Jail time: Up to one year
- Fine: Court costs of $300 or more, fine of up to $5,000
- License suspension: Up to two years with the possibility of probation
Types of drugs that can impair drivers
- Illegal drugs (cannabis, cocaine, meth)
- Prescription drugs (painkillers, depression/anxiety medication, sleep-aids)
- Over-the-counter (sleep-aids and allergy pills, such as Benadryl)
It is important to know the consequences for drugged driving, and what constitutes a drug, as not only illegal drugs can land you with and OWI charge.