Drugs And Probable Cause Ruling In Delaware

A June 13, 2016 ruling in Delaware’s Court of Common Pleas can have wide implications in future DUI arrests. Judge Carl C. Danberg ruled that the “exceptionally broad” definitions of drugs allows Delaware police officers to establish probable cause for a driving under the influence arrest without identifying the specific substance a person may have used.

The ruling followed a defendant’s motion to suppress evidence from a June 2015 arrest. The defendant argued that the arresting Delaware State Police officer could not determine a crime had occurred after the defendant hit another vehicle at an Instate 95 toll.

The defendant asserted the definition of “drug” only refers to controlled substances and that police cannot determine probable cause for arrest without identifying the specific substance in question. However, Judge Danberg found that the term “drug” is much more expansive under Delaware law. In Delaware, a “drug” can be considered anything that can alter an individual’s mental, physical, or emotional state, including medications that were prescribed by a doctor for treating illness, injuries, or diseases. Judge Danberg noted that this legal definition of the term “drugs,” combined with the defendant’s behavior and physical condition after the crash, established sufficient probable cause for a DUI arrest.

Being arrested for driving under the influence is a serious offense. If you need help with a DUI charge in Delaware, contact Murray, Phillips & Gay immediately. We have over 25 years of experience providing legal defense for DUI and Traffic Offenses, as well as other related criminal charges.

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