After an initial traffic stop, if law enforcement officers believe you may be under the influence of a substance that impairs your driving ability you may be arrested. With these things in mind, the following is information on the preliminary steps leading to the arrest including how an officer will determine intoxication and seriously these types of cases are taken.
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A police officer looks for several things. They look at a person’s ability to follow instructions and to maintain a conversation. Often people under the influence of drugs cannot maintain common communication or cannot answer questions. The officer then looks at the person’s physical manifestation such as their eyes, whether they are glassy, bloodshot, or watery.
The officer determines if the person’s speech is slurred and if they are following the conversation. The person’s coordination on field sobriety tests and coordination in general are all considered.
Physical markings such as track marks on the person’s arm for heroin use or burn marks on their fingers may be also indications of use of drugs. The officer also looks throughout the car either from the outside or, if they have probable cause, from the inside to determine if there is evidence of drug use inside the car such as needles, smoking devices, marijuana, other drugs, empty baggies. That’s other evidence officers look for.
Finally, the officer looks for any statements the person makes as to the consumption or ingestion of any drug. They speak with any witnesses such as passengers in the vehicle, other witnesses on the road, or other people who may have observed the person before they got into the vehicle to help demonstrate the person was driving under the influence of drugs.
Police officers use field sobriety tests similar to those used for DUI alcohol. Field sobriety tests are looking at the person’s ability to follow simple instructions and perform the test as requested. The officer watches the person’s coordination, their memory, and any other physical or mental manifestations that may give them cause to believe that a person is under the influence of drugs.
A DUI investigation for alcohol looks very similar to a DUI drug investigation. In both investigations, field sobriety tests are performed and the subject’s performance on the field sobriety test is analyzed. The evidence for intoxication is noted and used against that person.
Yes, any kind of driving under the influence charge is a priority for officers in Alexandria. The potential consequences of driving under the influence of either drugs or alcohol are very grave. It can often lead to a serious property damage, injury, or even death of another person on the road. Because of that great concern the community and the police have for drivers, DUI drugs and DUI alcohol are a priority of police enforcement.
They often have officers who are assigned to try to arrest people for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and are focused on that task alone on any given night. So, it is a priority and arrests are made for both DUI alcohol and DUI drug.
An allegation that a person has been ingesting marijuana is the same as someone who has been ingesting cocaine, heroin, or alcohol. So, they are not treated as less severe to driving while intoxicated by marijuana. The allegation is treated exactly the same as a DUI alcohol or DUI drug of any other nature.
A person can be sentenced to up to twelve months in jail and $2,500 fine on the first offense. These charges are treated seriously by the court. Marijuana, which is illegal in Virginia, is no less of an offense in any regard. It’s treated the same as any other drug or DUI alcohol.
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