Many people probably know that those who are under the influence of marijuana or other drugs can be just as dangerous behind the wheel as those who have consumed too much alcohol. For this reason, New York criminalizes drugged driving in a manner similar to the way it handles drunk driving.

Specifically, a person caught with drugs in his or her system or some combination of drugs and alcohol in their system while driving could face charges of DWAI-Drug. In order to be convicted, the state will have to prove that the person accused was under the influence of a drug to the point where his driving was affected.

On the other hand, the scary thing about the DWAI-Drug charge is that it does not just apply to illegal substances. One can face a DWAI-Drug if her own medicine affected her driving.

The penalties even for a first offense DWAI-Drug are steep. Even without any aggravating circumstances, like a prior conviction, a person convicted of DWAI-Drug can face a fine of up to $1,000 and will lose driving privileges for 6 months. Additionally, it is possible for a New York judge to sentence an offender to up to 1 year in jail.

Like drunk driving charges, DWAI-Drug charges can affect a large swath of the population in an around New City. For instance, recent studies have suggested that marijuana use is at its highest level among college students in 35 years, with 43% of them admitting to using marijuana within the previous 12 months.

Whether one is a college student, a white-collar professional or someone who works a trade, a DWAI charge can be life-altering or, at best, a huge inconvenience. Getting the help of an experienced attorney after a charge is often an important first step.