Senator Pre-Files New Bill That Would Combat Driving Under The Influence Of Drugs

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

They say it's a problem that can only be helped with a new law.

An eastern Kentucky state senator pre-files a bill that would make driving under the influence of drugs easier to prosecute.

Some county attorneys WYMT’s Angela Sparkman spoke with say they have to prove in court the drugs actually impaired the driver and it isn't always easy and offenders go free, but State Senator Ray Jones is proposing a bill that takes away that step and helps keep alleged offenders off the streets.

Officer Tommy Gearheart says he finds more and more drivers driving under the influence of drugs. “We've seen a huge increase on DUI arrests. This has been growing dramatically since 2000. A lot of these are repeat offenders, you see them over and over again,” Gearheart said.

Pike County Prosecutor Roger Varney doesn't want them back on the roads, but says sometimes he has no choice.

He says they have to prove in court the drugs actually impaired the driving, but says they don't always have proof.

“You could have a lot of cocaine in your system, but if you didn't cross the center line for example or show some type of impaired driving, I could not convict you under the law as it stands now,” Varney said.

“It has never made sense to me why if someone has cocaine in their pocket, they can be prosecuted for a felony, yet if they take it and get behind the wheel of a car, they can't be prosecuted for that offense,” Senator Jones said.

State Senator Ray Jones' proposed bill takes away the burden of proof and makes it automatically against the law to drive with illegal drugs in your system...setting up a system similar to alcohol related DUIs.

The law wouldn't apply if the driver had a prescription for the drugs.

A similar bill passed the senate but failed in the house last year.

Senator Jones believes he has representatives support now and thinks it will pass this year.

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