When a driver faces charges for driving under the influence (DUI), it’s usually due to their intoxication from alcohol or drugs – sometimes a combination of the two. But controlled substances and liquor aren’t the only things that can impair a driver’s senses.
Inhalants can cause a high similar to controlled substances but are usually household chemicals that can be easily purchased from everyday stores. Not only are these substances dangerous to the human body, but their intoxicating effects can also lead to DUIs.
Examples of inhalants
Model glue and paint thinner are some of the more popularly known inhalants, but other substances can also be inhaled for a similar effect. These include:
- Aerosols: Spray paints, hair spray, vegetable oil sprays, etc.
- Gases: Propane tanks, whipped cream aerosols, chloroform, nitrous oxide, etc.
- Nitrites: Leather cleaner, room odorizer, etc.
- Solvents: Lighter fluid, felt-tip pens, correction fluids, etc.
When inhaled, these substances can lead to dizziness, slurred speech, and lack of body coordination.
Penalties for inhalant DUI
Drivers charged with DUI for being under the influence of an inhalant will face the same penalties as those who have the highest rates of blood alcohol or those who are under the influence of controlled substances at the time of the offense, per Pennsylvania law.
These penalties are:
- First offense: Jail time of up to 72 hours, plus as much as $5,000 in fines. The convicted must also attend an alcohol or substance abuse highway safety school and comply with any drug and alcohol treatment requirements.
- Second offense: Jail time of up to 90 days, plus a maximum fine of $1,500. The convicted must also attend an alcohol or substance abuse highway safety school and comply with any drug and alcohol treatment requirements.
- Third and subsequent offense: Prison time of up to a year, plus as much as $2,500 in fines. The convicted must comply with all drug and alcohol treatment requirements imposed by the court.
Drivers who refuse to submit to a breath or chemical test when asked by an officer may also face enhanced penalties.
DUIs aren’t just for drivers intoxicated by liquor or drugs – inhalants can also impair motorists enough to make them a danger to themselves and others. Drivers accused of being under the influence of inhalants should take their court hearing seriously, as the court will treat their case as if they had the highest impairment level possible for alcohol or drugs.