Louisiana's Drugged Driving Law

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

Louisiana’s drugged driving law is located at Louisiana Revised Statutes Title 14: Section 98. It states “The crime of operating a vehicle while intoxicated is the operating of any motor vehicle, aircraft, watercraft, vessel, or other means of conveyance when the operator is under the influence of any controlled dangerous substance listed in Schedule I, II, III, IV, or V as set forth in R.S. 40:964; or the operator is under the influence of a combination of alcohol and one or more drugs which are not controlled dangerous substances and which are legally obtainable with or without a prescription.”

In other words, in Lousiana it’s a crime to drive while under the influence of a drug. No blood testing standard is established in Louisiana – that is, there is no fixed amount of drugs within the blood system that determines conviction. Whether a driver is impaired is determined on a case-by-case basis and at the discretion of the prosecutor.

What drugs are prohibited?

Louisiana’s drugged driving law is directed any controlled dangerous substance listed in Schedule I, II, III, IV, or V as set forth in R.S. 40:964; or the operator is under the influence of a combination of alcohol and one or more drugs which are not controlled dangerous substances and which are legally obtainable with or without a prescription."

It’s not an acceptable defense to a drugged driving charge to claim that the driver is legally entitled to use the controlled substance. However the following are permitted as affirmative defenses:

  • If the label on the container of the prescription drug or the manufacturer’s package of the drug does not contain a warning against combining the medication with alcohol, or.
  • if the operator did not knowingly consume quantities of the drug or drugs which substantially exceed the dosage prescribed by the physician or the dosage recommended by the manufacturer of the drug.

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

A driver arrested for drugged driving in Louisiana 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 Louisiana’s DUI laws.

Do Louisiana drivers have to submit to drug testing?

Yes, there is an implied consent rule for blood and urine testing. The refusal to take the test can be admitted into evidence against the driver.

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