Alabama Drugged Driving Law

Learn about the laws and penalties for driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) in Alabama.

Alabama’s drugged driving law is found at  Section 32-5A-191 of the Alabama code. It states that a person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any vehicle while:

  • Under the influence of a controlled substance to a degree which renders him or her incapable of safely driving;
  • Under the combined influence (DUI) and a controlled substance to a degree which renders him or her incapable of safely driving; or
  • Under the influence of any substance which impairs the mental or physical faculties of such person to a degree which renders him or her incapable of safely driving.

Alabama is one of several states that use “incapacitation” as the standard for a drugged driving conviction. Incapacitation is more than impairment; it means that the driver is unable to drive safely. This creates a heavier burden for a prosecutor who must demonstrate not only that the driver was high, but that the driver was so high as to be unable to guarantee his or her safety.

What drugs are prohibited?

Alabama’s drugged driving law is directed at the prohibition of controlled substances -- that is, any drug or chemical regulated by the government. A listing of controlled substances regulated by federal law are found at the Drug Enforcement Administration website. It’s not an acceptable defense to a drugged driving charge to claim that the driver is legally entitled to use the controlled substance.

What happens if a driver is convicted of drug impaired driving in Alabama?

A driver arrested for drugged driving in Alabama will be charged with driving under the influence and subject to DUI penalties. A conviction for drugged driving will be considered as a prior offense for purposes of calculating punishment regardless of whether a subsequent offense is due to alcohol or drugs. Read more about Alabama’s DUI laws.

Do Alabama drivers have to submit to drug testing?

There is no implied consent rule for drug testing with one exception: if a driver is causes a serious physical injury or death, and where a police officer has a reasonable suspicion that the driver was high on amphetamines, opiates or cannabis, then the driver is considered to have given consent to a blood test.

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