Drug use and Driving
Many individuals have questions about how long drugs will stay in their system. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer. The length of time will depend on your weight, height, body fat, age, health status, or stress level. Additionally, the amount and frequency, potency and quantity of consumption will also affect a drug test.
Common drugs and the length of time for detection
As mentioned above, the type of drug you ingest will determine how long it remains in your system.
- Alcohol (Beer, Booze, Hooch, Liquor, Wine): these drugs stay in your system a very short time, 1 hour to perhaps 10 or 12 hours
- Amphetamines (Biphetamine, Black Beauties, Crosses, Dexedrine, Hearts), 1-2 days
- Anabolic steroids (Stanzolol, Stanazolol, Nandrolene; Steroids, Roids, Juice), oral- up to 3 weeks; injected- up to 3-6 months and more
- Barbiturates (Amytal, Nembutal, Seconal, Phenobarbital; Barbs), 2-3 days
- Benzodiazepines (e.g., Ativan, Halcion, Librium, Rohypnol, Valium; Roofies, Tranks, Xanax), most, 2-3 days; a few, 4-8 days
- Cocaine (Candy, Coke, Crack, Flake, Rocks, Snow, Whitecoat), 1-2 days
- Heroin (Horse, Smack), 1-2 days
- LSD (Acid, Blotter, Microdot, Yellow sunshine), a few hours or up to 5 days
- Marijuana (Bud, Blunt, Grass, Herb, Pot, Reefer, Sinsemilla, Smoke, Weed), 2-5 days (the daily, heavy user can sometimes be detected up to 30+ days)
(Information gathered from the OHS Health and Safety Services, Inc.)
How will drugs impair my ability to drive?
Whether you have taken Cannabis, which can cause lack of concentration, drowsiness, paranoia or distorted perception or Cocaine which can cause drivers to misjudge speed or give them a heightened since of confidence, it’s important to understand it is illegal to operate a vehicle with drugs in your system.
Measuring impairment from drug use
Detecting whether a driver is impaired from drugs is not as simple as it is with alcohol. As mentioned above, some drugs can stay in the body for days, with no conclusive detection method for determining impairment while driving.
Some states give officers specific guidelines and training to determine drug impairment in motorists. Training can include specific evaluations for a driver’s eye movements, behavior and other cues pointing to drug influence. Forty-four states and the District of Columbia have Drug Evaluation and Classification Programs in place to train DREs.
Other states, 15 at the current time, have instituted per se laws for drug use. In these states it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with any detectable amount of certain drugs in your system.
According to Find Law, “The 15 states that have per se drugged driving laws for all drivers are Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. Three of these states (Nevada, Ohio and Virginia) have certain limits for the presence of intoxicating drugs, while the other 12 have a zero-tolerance policy.”
If you have been arrested and you had a detectable level of alcohol in your urine or blood, it is time to talk to a DUI lawyer.
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