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New DUI law has drivers concerned

A new DUI law that went into effect on Oct. 1 has Oklahoma drivers concerned because it penalizes drivers who may have just trace amounts of Schedule I controlled substances or chemicals in their blood. This new law makes it illegal to drive with any detectable amount of a Schedule I substance in, including analogs or metabolites, in people's saliva, blood, urine or any other bodily fluid. Several drivers support the new law because they believe it will help keep impaired drivers off the road; however, many of the same people are concerned that drivers will be penalized for substances they took in a day or two prior.

According to one defense attorney in Oklahoma, even trace amounts of a substance could possibly result in DUI charges against any individual, even if they are not impaired. In addition, those on prescription medication need to be especially cautious, because many medications are detectable even days after the initial dose. The attorney recommended that people who have taken drugs within the past week or two should not chance driving and should have someone else drive instead. Penalties for convictions are steep, and drivers could face $1,000 in fines and up to a year in jail.

Those facing charges for DUI may benefit from speaking with an attorney. Oklahoma's new DUI law could leave many people vulnerable to charges, even if they have trace amounts of substances in their systems but have not shown signs of impairment. A skilled attorney might review the case and may gather medical data or test results. A lawyer might obtain information regarding how the drug testing was conducted and, depending upon the circumstances, may be able to have its importance diminished in court.

Source: KOCO, "Drivers concerned new DUI law goes too far", Patti Moon, September 27, 2013

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