Fitchett was driving a 2008 Nissan Maxima and had a male passenger riding in the vehicle with her when she plowed into a pickup truck parked on the side of Montauk Highway. Fitchett was driving in an eastbound direction when the accident took place, according to police. Both Fitchett and the passenger sustained minor injuries and were taken to Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center in South Patchogue. After being treated for their injuries, both were released.
Fitchett was charged with DUI and driving while ability impaired by drugs, according to news reports. There was no indication of whether it was her first DUI or drug offense.
Many people assume that a charge of driving under the influence relates to being impaired by alcohol to an extent where the driver cannot safely operate a vehicle. The fact is, driving under the influence can also pertain to drugs that impair an individual’s ability to drive. Certain illegal and narcotic drugs can impair a person’s ability to think rationally or slow their reflexes. Cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, heroin, and even prescription medications such as oxycodone or hydrocodone can affect someone’s ability to operate a vehicle in a safe manner.
For a first-time DUI offense involving alcohol in Michigan, the penalties are serious and include potential jail time, fines, driver’s license suspension, community service, and more. A first offense OWPD (operating with the presence of drugs) will result in the same penalties as driving under the influence of alcohol. This applies to those determined to have a Schedule 1 drug in their system while operating a vehicle.
With each subsequent DUI offense, the penalties become more serious. Not only do defendants face loss of their freedom, penalties, and license suspension, the impact to their reputations and careers can be damaging as well. If you have been arrested or charged with a drunk driving offense, consult with a seasoned Michigan DUI defense attorney at once.