Section 3802 (d) of the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code mandates stiff penalties for individuals convicted of the following offenses: Driving with any amount of Controlled Substance in the person’s blood; Driving Under the Influence of a Controlled Substance; and Driving Under the Combined Influence of a Controlled Substance and Alcohol. This section of the D.U.I. law provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of 72 hours in jail for a person who is convicted of Driving with ANY amount of Controlled Substance in a person’s blood, Driving Under the Influence of Controlled Substances or Driving Under the Combined Influence of Alcohol and Controlled Substance as a first time offender. A second conviction under this section of the D.U.I. law carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 90 days in jail and a 3rd or subsequent conviction carries a mandatory minimum of one year in prison.
Controlled substances are defined as schedule I, II or III drugs. If a person does not have a prescription for the controlled substance, than driving with any amount of controlled substance in the blood could result in a conviction under this section. Unlike other sections of the D.U.I. law, a person can be convicted of 3802 (d) (1) even if he is capable of driving safely. And even if a person possesses a valid prescription for the controlled substance, a criminal conviction can result if the person’s driving is impaired due to the combination of alcohol and the prescription drugs taken.
A person who drives with controlled substance in his blood might avoid detection by police. However, if the person is pulled over by the police for some other reason and makes incriminating statements to the police regarding the use of controlled substance or if the police possess a legitimate reason to believe the person’s blood contains controlled substance, the police may lawfully arrest the person under subsection 3802 (d) (1). On the other hand, if the person is driving a car erratically and the police stop the vehicle and suspect that the individual is under the influence of alcohol rather than controlled substance or a combination of both, than usually the police will not request that the laboratory test the suspect’s blood for controlled substances. Therefore, it is very important that a person stopped for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol NOT offer any information to the police regarding use of prescription or non-prescription drug consumption. Providing incriminating statements to the police can turn a Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol charge into both a D.U.I. and a Driving Under the Influence of Controlled Substance charge very quickly. And with that additional criminal charge will come far more severe penalties.
If you are charged with Driving Under the Influence of Controlled Substances or any criminal offense, Chester County attorney John P. Winicov can help you. We will provide aggressive representation and we will handle your case with the care it deserves.