Updated: Aug 28
Why is it illegal to drive while under the influence of drugs? These substances make it impossible to assess the road situation correctly, making the drug user a danger on the road both to themselves and to others.
Driving under the influence of drugs is a crime
It should be pointed out that driving under the influence of drugs is not just a misdemeanour, but a crime. The law in Bulgaria expressly prohibits us from driving a motor vehicle under the influence of narcotic substances or their analogues. Whether negative consequences arose from this illegal behaviour is irrelevant. Driving under the influence of drugs is a crime even without consequences.
Which substances are drugs and which substances are their analogues?
A narcotic substance is any narcotic and psychotropic substance, as well as any other natural and synthetic substance that can cause a state of dependence and has a stimulating or depressing effect on the central nervous system, causes hallucinations or disorders of motor function, mental activity, behaviour, mood and other perceptions of the body. Among the most common drugs are marijuana, hashish, amphetamines, heroin and cocaine.
An analogue of a narcotic substance is any substance that is not included in the Regulation on the order for the classification of plants and substances as narcotic, but has a similar chemical structure to a narcotic substance and causes the same effect on the body. Analogues are also called designer drugs or structural drugs. The most famous narcotic analogues are LSD, Ecstasy (also known as MDMA) and Ketamine.
Amphetamine, marijuana, cocaine and opiates can be detected in urine even days after use with the SafeCare Combined Rapid Drug Test. You get results in just 5 minutes.
What are the penalties for driving under the influence of drugs?
In August 2023, tougher penalties for people who drive after consuming alcohol and drugs came into force. According to the changes in the Penal Code, driving a car after using "narcotic substances or their analogues" results in the following penalties: confiscation of the vehicle, 1 to 3 years in prison, and a fine of 500 to 1,500 BGN. In case of relapse, the penalty is confiscation of the vehicle, 1 to 5 years in prison, and a fine of 500 to 1,500 BGN.
Impounded cars will be returned or confiscated depending on the court's decision. They are confiscated in favour of the state, and the state, represented by the National Revenue Agency, sells them at an auction. If the driver is not the owner of the car they were driving, they will have to pay the state an amount equal to the value of the vehicle.
But most importantly, the use of drugs creates dangers for the life and health of all road users. Do not drive if you have narcotic substances in your system. It's quick and easy to find out with a specialised test.