Driving while impaired (DWI) is usually linked to alcohol, but if you are charged in North Carolina with driving while impaired by drugs, you must speak at once to an experienced Winston-Salem DWI lawyer at LAWSMITH, the Law Offices of J. Scott Smith.

It is against the law in North Carolina to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of any “impairing substance.” This state aggressively enforces laws against drugged driving. Even a first offender in North Carolina could be sent to jail and ordered to pay a costly fine.


While the effect of alcohol on drivers has been extensively documented, researchers tell us that their data on drugged driving is not yet comprehensive.

Nevertheless, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the percentage of traffic accident fatalities linked to drugged driving has increased in fourteen of the last fifteen years.

What Is A Drug Recognition Expert (D.R.E)?

Because there is nothing comparable to a breathalyzer test for drugged drivers, a motorist who is suspected of drugged driving will probably be asked for a blood sample and examined by a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE).

Drug Recognition Experts are police officers who have received special training in identifying individuals who are impaired by drugs. A DRE may be summoned to the scene when the officer who made the traffic stop suspects that the motorist is impaired by something other than alcohol.

DREs assess a driver’s motions, speech, eye movements, and behavior for the signs of drug intoxication.

What About Over-the-counter And Prescription Drugs?

It is not only against the law in North Carolina to drive while impaired by illegal drugs like marijuana, cocaine, and heroin, but drivers are also prohibited from driving while impaired by any substance or drug – even legal over-the-counter medicines and prescribed medications.

A doctor’s prescription is no defense against a DWI charge. Vicodin, Dolophine, Oxycontin, and Demerol are particularly likely to impair you while you’re driving. These drugs slow reaction times, reflexes, and thought processes, so driving while using these drugs must be avoided.

If you use any prescription medicines, discuss your concerns with your doctor, and get the answers you need. Heed the instructions and warning labels that come with your medications, and go online to learn more.

How Is Drugged Driving Prosecuted In North Carolina?

Depending on the details of the case, a drugged driving (or “drug-DWI”) charge in North Carolina may be prosecuted as a felony or as a misdemeanor.

Felony drug-DWI convictions are treated quite seriously, and a convicted offender can expect to serve time in prison. Misdemeanor drug-DWI convictions are penalized with fines, probation, a driver’s license suspension, and jail time.


If you are placed under arrest for a drug-DWI, contact an experienced Winston-Salem DWI lawyer at LAWSMITH, the Law Offices of J. Scott Smith, immediately. A DWI attorney at LAWSMITH will aggressively fight for your rights and for the justice you deserve.

Call LAWSMITH at 336-306-8644 or use the contact form right here on our website to reach us. Our offices are at 250 Executive Park Boulevard, Suite 100, in Winston-Salem and at 204 Muirs Chapel Road, Suite 104, in Greensboro. If you need legal help, do not wait. Make the call now.