Despite legalization at least to some extent in a great many states, the question of how to protect citizens from the careless and reckless use of marijuana by others still presents a lot of obstacles to legislators and law enforcement alike, particularly when it comes to keeping the roads safe.
In New York, the standard of proof to convict for Driving While Ability Impaired by Drugs (DWAI-Drugs) in violation of VTL Sec. 1192.4, or for Driving While Ability Impaired by the Combined Influence of Drugs and/or Alcohol in violation of VTL 1192.4-a (DWAI Combined Influence), is still, as it has always been, that the driver must be “impaired to any extent”. Impairment is a significantly lower standard than intoxication, and requires only that some evidence be adduced to demonstrate that the driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle as a reasonably safe and prudent driver was impaired to some degree. The tests administered at the time of the stop (Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, or SFSTs) and/or the results of an evaluation performed by a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) will usually result in enough to sustain that burden.
Yes, Marijuana is still considered a drug and is still illegal for the most part in New York. And a conviction of either DWAI-Drugs or DWAI Combined Influence can be just as devastating and serious as a DWI conviction. In fact, there are certain aspects of a drug related driving conviction that can actually make it worse. For that reason, if you or someone you care about has been arrested for DWAI- Drugs or another drug or alcohol related driving offense, you need to call DWI defense attorney Todd W. Carpenter, Esq. of Catalano & Carpenter LLP at (845) 454-1919 today, or email him directly at Todd@CatalanoCarpenter.com.
This article in the Washington Post highlights some of the issues: