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Kratom and South Carolina DUI’s

Kratom and South Carolina DUI’s

A few days ago I saw a billboard advertising kratom for sale on 378 in Lexington. Yesterday I saw another one on North Lake coming into downtown. I thought that this was timely since in the past several months we’ve begun to be hired people charged with driving under the influence of kratom.

Kratom is the name for a plant native to Southeast-Asia. It’s currently legal (although I suspect not for long). People can get high by smoking, eating, or boiling it into a tea. Lower dosages don't necessarily result in much or any intoxicating effect. Just like with other drugs, such as alcohol, a little may not cause impairment when a lot almost certainly will.  Some people are using kratom as an alternative to pain medication, so it's not an exclusively recreational drug. 

Just because it isn't alcohol or a drug doesn't mean you can't get a DUI because of it. Anything that impairs the ability to drive a car in South Carolina can result in a DUI, even a currently legal plant (or getting high from huffing paint or glue). Most South Carolina police officer’s don’t yet have any training on kratom DUI’s. It is very unlikely in most situations even if someone is arrested for suspicion of kratom intoxication that the police are going to go through the time & trouble of arranging for an investigation by a specially trained DRE (drug recognition expert) officer. This can result in opportunities to defend a DUI when the police suspect kratom use, especially if there aren't significant other outward signs of impairment.

What are your rights if arrested for driving under the influence of kratom?

You have the same rights as anyone else charged with DUI. This includes the right to hire the lawyer of your choice, the presumption of innocence, the right to remain silent, and the right to have the state present all witnesses against you (including who performed any blood or urine test).

If you’re interested in challenging your DUI (and anyone arrested for DUI should be), then you need to contact a lawyer before your first court date. We’re available to help anyone charged with any South Carolina DUI, including those involving kratom. You can schedule an appointment by calling us at (888) 301-3532.


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