Like all states, North Carolina has had explicit laws against drunk driving in place for years. Yet, the rules about drugged driving are not so well known.
As a driver, the main thing to know is that the state takes a tough line on anyone they believe is affected by drink or drugs when driving.
Driving while impaired is an offense
North Carolina law defines impaired driving as one of three things:
- Testing over 0.08 BAC for alcohol
- Having any amount of a Schedule One substance in your blood or urine test
- Driving while under the influence of an impairing substance
The term “impairing substance” is purposefully vague. Thus you could find yourself facing impaired driving charges despite having a prescription for medicines you took.
You could be charged with drug-related crimes on top of a driving offense
While North Carolina has downgraded specific forms of recreational use of marijuana to a misdemeanor, it remains illegal in the state. Thus, if a law officer stops you and thinks you have been taking marijuana or any other drug, they may charge you with drug-related offenses as well as charging you with impaired driving.
Prosecutors may combine offenses to put pressure on you to accept an impaired driving or drug-related charge. They may offer you a plea deal, where they drop some charges in return for you agreeing not to fight others.
It is crucial to fight to prove your innocence and protect your freedom. If you did not do anything wrong, there is no reason to accept it when a prosecutor says you did. The consequences of any conviction could last a lifetime and go far beyond losing your license.