Driving While Impaired by a CDS

Under § 21-902 of the Transportation Article, a person may not drive or attempt to drive any vehicle while impaired by a Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS). Enhanced penalties apply if a person commits this offense in Maryland while transporting a minor child as a passenger in the vehicle.

With a conviction for an alcohol- and/or drug-related driving offense, a violator is subject to a range of penalties involving fines and imprisonment, as well as suspension or revocation of the driver’s license by the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA).


Attorney Drugged Driving DWI in Baltimore, MD

A person convicted of driving while impaired by a CDS is subject to fines ranging from $1,000 to $3,000 and/or a maximum imprisonment term of one to three years. A repeat conviction within five years requires a mandatory minimum penalty of imprisonment for 5 to 10 days or community service for 30 to 60 days, as well as a mandatory drug abuse assessment.

Imprisonment includes confinement in an inpatient rehabilitation or treatment center or home detention that includes electronic monitoring for the purpose of participation in a certified or court-approved drug treatment program. If an offender is transporting a minor at the time of the drug-related driving offense, fines and sanctions increase beyond those already specified for lesser included offenses.

These offenses can include driving while impaired by a drug, a combination of drugs, or a combination of one or more drugs and alcohol. For this offense, the fact that a person may have lawfully taken a drug, a combination of drugs, or a combination of one or more drugs and alcohol is not a defense unless the person did not know that the drug, the combination of drugs, or the combination of one or more drugs and alcohol would make the person unable to drive safely.

Maryland law also prohibits driving while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance that the person is not legally entitled to use. This is the more serious drug offense and tends to carry a more severe penalty. Often, but not always, the penalty for driving while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance is in line with the penalty for driving under the influence of alcohol or under the influence of alcohol per se within a particular category of crimes.


Drug Test Results in a DUI Case in Maryland

A test for drugs or controlled dangerous substances is admissible as evidence under CJ Section 10-308. Maryland law does not provide for evidentiary presumptions for impairment based on specific levels of drug or controlled dangerous substance content.

A test for drugs or controlled dangerous substances is more difficult to obtain because the test must be conducted using a specimen of blood and only a police officer who is a drug recognition expert may request that a driver submit to the test. As a result, officers request a test to determine the presence of drugs or controlled dangerous substances less often than testing for alcohol.

If a police officer determines that a driver’s impairment is more substantial than is indicated by a low BAC breath test or if there is other evidence of impairment by a drug or CDS, then the driver may be detained on suspicion of driving while impaired by a drug or a CDS. Only a drug recognition expert (DRE) may administer the 12-step evaluation used to investigate whether a driver is impaired by a drug or CDS. After the evaluation, the DRE may request the driver to take a blood test to determine impairment by a drug or CDS.

A driver’s refusal to take part in a DRE evaluation is not an administrative per se offense subject to a license suspension. According to the Maryland State Police and the Maryland State’s Attorneys Association, if the evaluation is not completed, the DRE cannot request that the driver take a blood test for a drug or CDS.


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Attorney for DWI by a CDS in Baltimore, Maryland

James Crawford is a criminal and DUI / DWI defense attorney in Arbutus and Catonsville, Maryland. He has more than two decades of experience as a trial lawyer defending people against felony or misdemeanor charges.

He knows the tactics used by the law enforcement officers investigating these crimes. He also understands the methods used by prosecutors with the Offices of the Maryland State’s Attorneys who presents the state’s case in criminal trials in the District Courts. In order to protect your reputation and your future, it is important that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney before you talk to anyone else about the accusation.

The attorneys at James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We have offices located in both Arbutus and Catonsville, for your convenience. We serve the nearby cities of Baltimore and Bell Air as well.

If you or a loved one have been arrested for any drunk or drugged driving offense in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Howard County, Anne Arundel County, Carroll County or Harford County, contact James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates. Our phone number is 443-709-9999 and your first consultation is free.


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