Interviewer: Of the cases that you see, what percentage now are due to drugs, either illegal or prescription drugs?
Attorney Tafelski: It’s still a relatively small percentage. Don’t forget, with prescription drugs it’s not illegal to drive unless your ability to drive is impaired. If the police officer pulls you over for Xanax or Percocet or Vicodin, and even thinks you’re acting a slightly impaired, he still has to put you through the field sobriety test and make a determination that your driving is impaired by the drugs.
Then they would have to get a blood draw. Then, really, they’ve got to look at the levels and try to determine are they beyond therapeutic levels? Or is it clear that the person would have been impaired by this amount of the drugs? They are harder cases. Usually what you see when someone gets arrested in those cases is that they really “looked out of it” on the videotapes.
What is a little bit more common will be a combination case where you might have someone who takes some Xanax and then they mix it with a few drinks. Maybe they’re at about a 0.06 level, which is not enough to usually get them arrested for drunk driving. The 0.06 combined with the Xanax make the person appear and act more intoxicated than either one, the Xanax or the alcohol, by itself will do. Those are a little more common.