There is a lot of attention paid to the hazards of drunk driving, but it’s important to remember that alcohol is not the only substance that can render a person too intoxicated to drive safely. Louisiana law takes this into consideration with its law against Driving While Intoxicated, or DWI.
In addition to alcohol, drivers can be intoxicated by illegal drugs, such as cannabis or opioids, or by legally acquired prescription medications. In some cases, drivers can be intoxicated from over-the-counter medications such as cough syrup or allergy pills.
While police can use chemical breath tests to gather evidence that shows a driver’s blood alcohol concentration, it can be harder for them to gather evidence of other intoxicants. Some may show up in the results of a blood test, but this requires a blood draw.
A first-time offender on DWI charges can face a sentence of 48 hours to six months in jail, although in many cases the jail time is waived. Drivers can also face suspension of their license and, in some cases, be required to install an ignition interlock into their cars. The penalties get much worse for repeat offenders.
In a case where an intoxicated driver causes injury to another person, Louisiana’s criminal justice system can provide a sense of justice by imposing these penalties. In some cases, courts may order the defendant to pay restitution to the victims of the accident.
However, there is only so much the criminal justice system can do for those who were injured by intoxicated drivers. To recover all the compensation they need for their medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages, the injured may need to file a personal injury claim, with the help of a skilled personal injury attorney.