The police department of the city of East Liverpool in Ohio posted a picture on the department’s Facebook account of a couple passed out after overdosing in their car. The police were responding to calls that a car was driving erratically and came to an abrupt stop near a school bus stop that was dropping off children. The driver, when approached by the police officer, appeared intoxicated. His head was bobbing back and forth and his speech was unintelligible. The passenger was a female and she was passed out. The driver told the police officer that he was taking the woman to the hospital. The driver even attempted to drive away while he was being questioned by the police officer and eventually also passed out. The police officer then noticed that there was a toddler in the backseat of the car.
The child was placed in the custody of children’s services; the driver was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated, endangering children, and slowing or stopping in a roadway; the female passenger was charged with endangering children, public intoxication, and not wearing a seatbelt.
Public Posting of Overdoses and Arrests
The police department made the decision to share the picture of the passed out couple to bring awareness to the heroin epidemic in the state and to deter people from using drugs while having children in their care. Another common practice is to release the booking or mugshot photos of people accused of driving drunk as a deterrent to drunk driving.
Drug Overdose Epidemic
In 2014, almost 47,000 people died of a drug overdose, the highest on record and surpassing car crashes and guns as the leading cause of death in the United States. Heroin and opioid overdoses account for 62% of all drug deaths, with half of them being attributed to the abuse of Vicodin, oxycodone, and morphine, according to the National Institute on Drug Addiction (NIDA).
Drugged Driving in Texas
In Texas, drugged driving does not require the presence of a specific number of drugs in the blood stream like drunk driving does. Driver impairment is determined on a case by case basis by examining whether the driver lacked the mental or physical ability to drive because of the use of an illegal drug or prescription drug. Keep in mind that you cannot use as an affirmative defense to a drugged driving charge, that the drug in question is legal or authorized in the case of prescription drugs. Furthermore, Texas makes no distinction whether the charge is drugged driving or drunk driving if the defendant has a prior arrest and conviction for either offense, any subsequent arrest is subject to stiffer penalties.
DWI Defense in Texas from an Experienced Attorney
Plano and Denton Texas DWI defense lawyer Kimberly Griffin Tucker represents people in criminal DWI proceedings as well as the corresponding civil administrative ALR hearings following driver’s license suspensions. From the charge to arraignment, sentencing through nondisclosure and expungement, Kimberly Griffin Tucker handles the full spectrum of DWI cases in Denton, Collins, and Dallas Counties to help you resolve your DWI arrest as quickly as possible. Contact Kimberly Griffin Tucker online here to schedule your free case evaluation.
image courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention