Wisconsin Drugged Driving Law Challenged in Court

Several defense attorneys are challenging Wisconsin’s new drugged-driving law, arguing that it is unconstitutional because it doesn’t set a specific standard for illegal activity, the Associated Press reported June 1.

Under the Baby Luke law, it is illegal for drivers to have “any detectable amount” of illicit drugs, such as cocaine or marijuana, in their bloodstreams. The law was named after an infant who died in a car crash caused by a driver who had taken cocaine.

“Unlike consumers of alcohol, for which empirical evidence shows a relationship between blood level and impairment, drug users can be penalized for the mere use of a restricted substance even after considerable time has passed, so long as it is allegedly detected even under what is here an undefined standard,” said defense attorney Laurence Moon. “This discrepancy is irrational.”

Janine Geske, a distinguished professor at Marquette University Law School and former state Supreme Court justice, said the defense attorneys have a legitimate argument. “Because this law is not like operating while intoxicated, and there is no specified amount, I think that is a serious, legitimate issue to raise,” she said.