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Alcohol is not the only cause of DUIs

When many people think about drunk driving charges, they probably think alcohol. While much of Kentucky used to be dry, there are fewer dry counties and the state has seen a large increase in the use of alcohol.

But alcohol is not the only means to impairment, and as the recent arrest of Tiger Woods shows, you can have a measured blood alcohol content of 0.00 BAC and still be viewed by a police officer as being sufficiently impaired to lead to your arrest for violating Kentucky's DUI statute.

While a 0.08 BAC makes prosecution easier under the state's "per se" standard, a 0.08 BAC or greater is not the only way to be convicted of DUI. Impairment caused by illegal drugs, prescription drug and nonprescription over-the-counter medication can all lead to a DUI. The statute is written broadly, stating you shall not operate a vehicle "While under the influence of any other substance or combination of substances which impairs one's driving ability;"

Woods apparently had not consumed any alcohol before being stopped, but his condition was not very different from someone who is intoxicated by alcohol. He slurred his words and spoke slowly. He was confused by questions from the officer, and the officer had to wake him up as he was sound asleep, with his head on the headrest and foot pressing the brake pedal with the car still running.

Woods had been prescribed various painkillers to deal with the after-effects of back surgery, and the combination of these drugs appears to have caused his impairment. In Kentucky, you could be charged with and potentially convicted of a DUI under these circumstances.

When you are using any form of medicine or drugs that could cause impairment you need to think twice about driving. The fact that you have prescription or some medical condition is unlikly to save you from being charged with a DUI if you are stopped.

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