Everyone knows that drunk driving is against the law, just like smoking marijuana and driving. However, many people are surprised to learn that Georgia law makes a special provision driving under the influence of inhalants. State law makes it illegal to drive or be in physical control of a vehicle under the intentional influence of glue, aerosol or other toxic vapor if it makes the driver less safe to drive.
What Are Inhalants?
Inhalants are chemical vapors that give users intoxicating effects when they are sniffed or huffed. They are found in hundreds of everyday household products, including many things we can find in our own houses. Teenagers and young adults are the most likely group to use inhalants. This is especially a concern because young drivers are more likely to be involved in motor vehicle accidents. Combined with inhalant use, young drivers under the influence are at a higher risk for injury or accidents.
Common inhalants include nail polish and remover, correction fluid (wite-out), felt tip markers, hair spray, cooking spray, nitrous from whipped cream cans, and spray paint cans. Individuals inhale the chemicals from open containers, or by soaking a rag with the chemical and breathing through the rage. Some users pour the chemicals on their clothing, to inhale it over time.
The high from chemical inhalants comes fast, but is short lived, and some users continue to inhale the chemical vapor over time to extend the mind-altering effects. The effects of inhalant use and abuse includes loss of coordination, loss of motor control, loss of consciousness, loss of inhibition, loss of sensation, memory impairment, impaired judgement and risky decision making.
Inhalant DUI Consequences
A conviction for an inhalant DUI has penalties similar to an alcohol DUI, but the conviction charges are slightly different. For a conviction of an inhalant DUI, the prosecutor must show that the inhalation was intentional. Accidental inhalation of toxic vapors is not a violation. The prosecutor also has to prove that the driver was operating the vehicle less safely as a result of the inhalation.
Because an inhalant DUI has different elements than an alcohol, they should be treated very differently as well. An Atlanta DUI lawyer with experience representing people charged with inhalant DUI will have a number of defenses available to get the charges dismissed or reduced. This includes challenging the police officer's observations of inhalant use and less safe driving. It could also include a defense that any intoxication from inhalants was accidental and not intentional. You should contact an experienced Georgia DUI defense lawyer to discuss you case as soon as possible, to make sure you have all the defenses available.
Inhalant DUI Defense Lawyer
It is important to understand the difference between an arrest and a conviction. Just because the police arrested you in Atlanta for driving under the influence of glue, poppers, nitrous or some other inhalant, does not mean that you are guilty of impaired driving. If you or a loved one has been arrested for an inhalant DUI, you need to contact a qualified and experienced Atlanta DUI lawyer with drug training. I have been trained in DUI drug detection, and field sobriety testing, and can investigate your case to make sure you are treated fairly by the state. Give me a call as soon as you can.