Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ithaca Cortland Lawyer What is New York DWS? = Driving While Stoned or DWAI Drugs

Watch this video to see the special police test for marijuana while driving

A new study shows that teen use of pot has increased while there is a remarkable decline in drinking. They surveyed 47,000 teens so I think the evidence is pretty compelling. Although my son says you can skew (twist and interpret) any data with statistics to support your opinion.

Is this a good thing (decrease in alcohol, increase in pot)?
Which is worse "drunk" driving or "high" driving?

Before you accuse me of promoting either activity let me state for the record, I do not advocate anyone driving while under the influence of "any" substance that would cause them to be a danger. BTW Studies have shown that driving while tired and texting can be just as dangerous as being impaired by a drug. Many more car and truck accidents have been attributed to driver fatigue than intoxication or impairment combined.

Many people I talk to believe that marijuana should be legalized. I don't think that is going to happen anytime soon. It is being, and has been decriminalized in many states. There is a trend (14 states and counting) to have medical marijuana. I think marijuana has it's place, compared to other drugs, it is safe, and should not be demonized.

Alcohol the DRUG

Most people forget: Alcohol is a powerful DRUG, but because it is: not sold in a pharmacy, socially acceptable, legal, and easily obtainable (local gas station) we downplay it's ability to affect us. We minimize alcohol, and the fact that about one in ten people is an alcoholic (alcohol dependent).

I believe that drunk driving has proven much more deadly than high driving. Regular (daily) pot users learn to do tasks while high. I have seen fully functional daily stoners. However, you choose to define fully or functional. This is also true to a certain degree for alcoholics but not to the same level or standard.

Neither is a good thing by any stretch of the imagination. It troubles me to see high driving portrayed as so innocuous in the movies. Being wasted out of your mind and driving may be funny in the movies but I would not want to be on a road with that person. So my answer is I do not think an increase in pot use is better. I think it opens up the door once again to teach people to respect all drugs and their ability to affect us. Being aware that with pot, the THC levels may vary greatly crop to crop. Difficult to always know how you may be after only smoking a joint. It also might be "laced" (tainted) with other drugs. Worse than drunk driving or high driving is the combination drunk/high driving.


I have seen a rise in those charged with DWAI drugs in Ithaca, and upstate New York. This is DWI on any drug other than alcohol. This charge is a crime (misdemeanor level). It is punishable to the same extent as alcohol DWI but without the mandatory ignition interlock device. Many of the cases I have defended involved either pot or prescription drugs. Combining multiple (prescription) drugs that cause drowsiness, muscle relaxation, and decreased reaction time spell disaster out on the road.

See my YouTube videos on "DWAI drugs" part I here:

DWAI Drugs part II here:

 Always consult with an attorney about any criminal or non-criminal charges you have pending to discuss your options and/or defenses.

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