Taking opiates can cause serious impairment that makes it dangerous to drive. Driving high on opiates is treated as driving under the influence in most states. You could face the same or more severe penalties if an officer stops you while you are high. Several things could happen if you are pulled over and you have been driving high on opiates.
Field Sobriety Tests
One of the first things that could happen is that the officer will perform a field sobriety test. The officer will ask you to get out of the car. You could then be asked to perform any one of several different tests. These tests are designed to check whether you show signs of being impaired. Officers will look for issues with balance, focus and impulse control. They will look to see if you show any signs of opiate abuse. Officers are trained to spot subtle behaviors showing impairment. If an officer suspects that you have been driving high on opiates, then you will be arrested. In most areas, you will be charged with driving under the influence.
Drug Recognition Evaluation
You will have to undergo a drug recognition evaluation once in custody. The examination is done if you are suspected of being on opiates. Standard blood, breath or urine tests cannot reliably show if opiates are in your system. A specially trained law enforcement expert will walk you through 12 different tests during the examination. Each test is designed to show whether you are under the influence of opiates or other drugs. This examination can be submitted as evidence against you in court later.
Multiple Charges Can Be Filed
Although the initial charge will usually be driving under the influence, you could face multiple charges if you are found to be abusing opiates. You could face charges like possession of drugs or possessions with intent to distribute drugs if they find opiates in your vehicle or on your person. These drug charges can carry penalties far in excess of what is typical for driving under the influence.
If you are found guilty of driving under the influence of opiates, then you are going to have to pay fines. The fines could be as low as a few hundred dollars. If you have been arrested for driving under the influence in the past, then your fines could be in the thousands of dollars. If you have aggravating factors such as causing an injury or destroying property, then you could see fines in the tens of thousands of dollars. Failing to pay these fines can lead to other legal problems.
Jail or Prison Time
Driving while high on opiates is considered a very serious offense. You might be sentenced to jail or prison time depending on your history, the circumstances of the arrest and any other charges. You could spend up to a year in jail for a first offense. If you have multiple offenses, then you could potentially be sent to jail for five or more years. If illegal opiates were found, then you might face mandatory drug sentences of ten or more years depending on the state.
License Suspension or Revocation
Your driver’s license will almost certainly be suspended after the arrest. Your license could be suspended for a few months at first. Aggravating factors could result in a suspension that lasts a full year. Multiple offenses in the past or other charges could lead to a suspension of five years or more. In extreme cases, you could have your license revoked completely so that you are no longer able to legally drive a vehicle.
If you are driving high on opiates, then you have a substance abuse problem. Opiate addiction can have a terrible impact on your life and your health. You need to get treatment as quickly as possible. You should contact a professional treatment center immediately if you are struggling with opiate addiction.