Driving Under the Influence of Controlled Substances

Pennsylvania has multiple ways, under section 3802(d) of the vehicle code, to charge someone who is driving with controlled substances or other drugs in their system. These include driving after having used illegal street drugs or after having taken drugs that were prescribed by a doctor or after having used drugs that are normally prescribed by a doctor without a valid prescription. Subsection (1) applies to anyone who drives a motor vehicle with any amount of a Schedule I drug or a Schedule I drug metabolite in their blood. It also applies to anyone who has a Schedule II or Schedule III drug or metabolite in their system if the Schedule II or Schedule III drug was not prescribed by a doctor. A metabolite is the by-product of a drug as it breaks down in your system. Different drugs have different metabolites. This section does not require that you be under the influence of the drug or that you be impaired. Simply having the drug in your blood is enough to face charges.

Subsection (2) applies to anyone who drives a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs to such a degree that they are incapable of safe driving. This section applies to all drugs, even those prescribed by a doctor and taken as prescribed.

Subsection (3) applies to anyone who drives a motor vehicle under the influence of a combination of drugs and alcohol to such a degree that they are incapable of safe driving. If you have both drugs and alcohol in your blood you are likely to be charged under this section as well as under the alcohol related sections of the DUI statute.

Subsection (4) applies to anyone who drives a motor vehicle under the influence of solvents or noxious substances. Again, this section does not require that you be impaired, only that you have a solvent or noxious substance in your blood. A solvent or noxious substance is any substance containing one or more of the following chemical compounds: acetone, acetate, benzene, butyl alcohol, cyclohexyl nitrite, ethyl alcohol, ethylene dichloride, gaseous or liquid fluorocarbons, isopropyl alcohol, methyl alcohol, methyl ethyl ketone, nitrous oxide, pentachlorophenol, petroleum ether, or toluene. This section is often charged when people use inhalants, sometimes called huffing, and then drive.

The penalties for conviction of any of the above DUI subsection is the same as the penalties for the highest tier Alcohol DUI offense. For more specific information about possible punishments for DUI tiers and number of offenses please see the chart provided under our resource tab. resources page

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