There are typically two different approaches for prosecutors to take when trying to convince the courts that someone committed an impaired driving offense. Sometimes, there is no chemical proof that someone violated state laws and the evidence will instead relate to the way that they acted while driving or their behavior during a traffic stop.
Slurred speech, an admission of drinking earlier and erratic behavior at the wheel could all convince the courts that someone was under the influence even when there isn’t any direct evidence that their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was over the legal limit at the time of their arrest. However, prosecutors can charge someone with impaired driving when their actual performance at the wheel was totally normal.
Those accused of drugged driving don’t have the option of showing they were not over the legal limit while driving.
There is no acceptable amount of certain drugs in your bloodstream
Many impaired driving infractions involve a driver who exceeded the per se limit for their BAC. Simply being over the legal limit is illegal. Those accused of impaired driving related to illegal drugs or prescription medication may hope to build a defense on their lack of impairment, but they may struggle to do so because Montana does not have a per se limit for drugs that affect someone’s driving.
Whether you test positive for opioid painkillers or methamphetamine, just having certain prohibited or controlled substances in your bloodstream makes it illegal for you to drive. An officer won’t necessarily need to prove impairment either, provided that you have a drug in your system that would affect your reaction time, your motor function or your rational thinking processes.
Any medication with a label warning about its effect on driving and any drug banned by the state could result in an impaired driving charge regardless of how much of the substance you have in your bloodstream.
How can you defend against drug driving charges?
There are many ways for a driver accused of an impaired driving offense related to drugs to defend themselves. Some drivers can challenge the chemical evidence gathered by the police, while others might raise questions about the legality of the traffic stop itself.
Reviewing the evidence against you can be an important step if you want to fight back against drugged driving charges in Montana.