In New York, it is illegal for one to operate a motor vehicle while that person’s ability to operate the motor vehicle is impaired by the use of a drug as defined in VTL § 114-a (See VTL § 1194(4) for the exact wording of the statute).
Vehicle and Traffic Law section 114-a defines a drug for purposes of VTL § 1194(4) as any substance listed in New York Public Health Law § 3306. In New York, if you are impaired or intoxicated by alcohol you could be charged with VTL § 1192(1); VTL § 1192(2); and/or VTL § 1192(3) (in other words DWI and/or DWAI); all three of which concern impairment or intoxication by alcohol.
However, in order to be charged with Driving by Ability Impaired By Drugs, you must have ingested a drug specifically mentioned in Public Health Law § 3306 and that drug must have impaired you ability to drive (this is discussed in a future blog). With new and more powerful drugs routinely hitting the “club scene”, it seems somewhat foolish to prohibit one from driving if they are under the influence of a drug listed in Public Health Law § 3306 while allowing them to drive with impunity if they ingest a drug not listed in Public Health Law § 3306. Recall, drugs such as GHB and Ecstasy were legal for years before they were banned. Simply stated, those driving under the influence of drugs not listed in Public Health Law § 3306 do not run afoul of VTL § 1192(4).
The list of drugs found in Public Health Law § 3306 is extremely long to the point that one might not even know if what they are taking, legally or otherwise, is listed in 3306. As I have repeatedly stated, never, never, never talk with law enforcement. For an exact list of the drugs that might subject you to driving while ability impaired by drugs see Public Health Law § 3306. And as always, if you have been charged with any alcohol a drug related driving offense in New York, call Tilem & Campbell for a free, confidential consultation.