Yes, if you are charged with a DWI (driving while intoxicated) and you had drugs in your system in addition to alcohol, your DWI charge can be more serious, and the penalties can be more severe compared to a standard DWI charge involving only alcohol.
In New York and many other jurisdictions, DWI laws typically cover impairment by both alcohol and drugs, including illegal drugs and prescription medications. If law enforcement determines that you were impaired by drugs, you can be charged with a drug-related DWI offense, which may be referred to as “DWAI-Drug” (Driving While Ability Impaired by Drugs) or something similar, depending on the specific terminology used in your state.
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The penalties for a DWI involving drugs can include fines, license suspension or revocation, mandatory drug and alcohol evaluation and treatment programs, probation, and even jail time, especially if there are aggravating factors or prior DWI convictions. The exact penalties can vary based on factors such as the type of drugs involved, the level of impairment, and whether you have a history of similar offenses.
It’s important to note that in cases involving drugs, law enforcement may use drug recognition experts (DREs) to evaluate your level of impairment. They may also conduct chemical tests, such as blood or urine tests, to detect the presence of drugs in your system. Refusing these tests can result in its own set of legal consequences, including license suspension.