Can I Get a DUI Due By Huffing?

Recently Glendale Police arrested a woman who was discovered unconscious behind the wheel of a vehicle with a can of aerosol in her lap. The woman woke up after the officer repeatedly yelled at her. Upon awakening, the woman grabbed the can and moved it towards her mouth before the officer took it from her. According to the report, the driver had a companion who said the woman had driven for several miles while taking hits from the can despite the companion’s requests to stop. The driver hit the curb, causing a tire to blow out. The vehicle was turned off when police encountered her, which is likely why she was not charged with DUI, however she was charged with several other crimes including endangerment, toxic vapors, and driving with a suspended/revoked/canceled license.

This incident sheds light on the dangers of inhalant abuse or “huffing” while driving. In Arizona, you can be charged with DUI if you are impaired by any alcohol or drugs. This includes inhalants such as spray paint, nitrous oxide, computer duster, whipped cream, nail polish remover, lighter fluid, rubber cement, gasoline, propane, poppers, paint thinner, and glue.

Huffing is very dangerous. Some of the short-term effects of inhalant abuse include depressed reflexes, loss of consciousness, impaired judgment, visual disturbances, slurred speech, and numbness. Long-term use can lead to disorientation, lack of coordination, hearing loss, and irreversible liver, kidney, and brain damage.  Huffing can also cause cardiac arrest, respiratory problems, and sudden death. Anyone who abuses inhalants is a danger to themselves and others if he/she gets behind the wheel when he/she is huffing or intoxicated.

Huffing is particularly dangerous because many substances that are abused are available for purchase in grocery stores and pharmacies by anyone. Many people have a substance in their home that can be used for huffing. Statistics show that 2.1 million children in the United States experiment with inhalants every year. The Center for Disease Control reports inhalants are second most illicit drug abused by children, after marijuana. It would be easy for most teenagers to get high on an inhalant prior to getting behind the wheel.

Inhalants are often legal to purchase for their intended use, but not for huffing. If you are arrested for DUI related to huffing or suspected huffing, you need an experienced Arizona DUI attorney to represent you.

If have been arrested for DUI related to inhalant intoxication, please contact an attorney for DUI at Oracle Law Group Office P.C. for assistance with your DUI case.

Photo credit: Kristian Bjornard from Flickr