A DUI charge is a serious enough offense on its own. However, a case may be treated even more seriously if some kind of drug was also found in the driver’s system. Mixing drugs and alcohol while driving in Alexandria is not only dangerous, it could also lead to stricter legal punishments. Yet not every instance of this is the result of driver recklessness. A quality DUI attorney could help you defend against the charges and put your life back on track.
Different drugs combine with the effects of alcohol in different ways. Even one drink can turn a safely-prescribed drug dose into an unsafe intoxicant. Most types of prescription drugs contain warning labels that say they should not be mixed with alcohol, and courts will expect that a defendant knew or should have known not to mix the two. Although it is plausible that someone might take the wrong kind of prescription on occasion, courts tend to resist believing that someone accidentally consumed alcohol on top of an intended or unintended drug.
The mixing of drugs and alcohol often increases the severity with which a DUI case is prosecuted in Alexandria, because the accused is perceived to be twice as intoxicated. The mixture of drugs with alcohol can lead to more serious symptoms stemming from exponential and unknown combination effects on the human body. This tends to result in a higher incidence of property damage and physical injury caused by extra-impaired drivers.
However, not all drugs are known to react adversely with alcohol, or cause impairment on their own. As such, the prosecution will often be forced to call an expert toxicologist to describe why a particular substance would have rendered someone too impaired to operate a motor vehicle.
On occasion, the increased complexity and reduced capacity to quantify a mixture DUI case can be exploited by the defense if the recorded intoxication levels fall outside the statutory BAC presumption levels. It is also common for arresting officers to take a longer period of time to find out that someone is impaired by a combination of alcohol and drugs, rather than just one or the other. By the time a blood test is arranged hours later, an accused person’s level of intoxication may have substantially diminished from the time of the driving behavior.
As expert toxicologists are routinely brought in as witnesses in these types of DUIs, the defense must also be prepared to attack the testimony or credentials of such witnesses, or acquire their own toxicologist expert to rebut the testimony for the prosecution.
Finally, the field sobriety tests deployed by police to assess degrees of drug impairment are far less reliable and standardized than the core alcohol-based tests developed by the federal government. In a case where officers suspect both sources of intoxication, they are likely to over-test a DUI suspect in a way that provides useful angles of attack for the defense.
Defense strategies for these types of cases will often focus on the specific kind, quantity, and timing of the prescription drug that was consumed, as well as the particular alcohol consumed. If a person’s symptoms do not make sense for the alleged mixture of intoxicants based on the available evidence, the defense might consider consulting or hiring an expert witness of its own to offer an alternative hypothesis of innocence.
People who are on prescription drugs commonly suffer from underlying ailments which can be known to affect their performance and comprehension of field and breath tests that police subject DUI suspects to. Sometimes it is effective to argue that the underlying medical problem itself is mimicking the effects of intoxication.
The official mandatory minimum and maximum statutory penalties for a DUI in Alexandria do not increase if someone had both drugs and alcohol in their system. However, the informal treatment of defendants may be more severe during sentencing, such as when dealing with active and suspended jail time, or the conditions of their probation.
Sometimes a legally prescribed medication can mix with one alcoholic drink, and provide enough evidence that someone was driving under the influence. But not all medications mix with alcohol the same way, and sometimes the ingested substances played no part in any erratic driving behavior. If you mixed drugs and alcohol while driving in Alexandria, and were charged for it, consult with a lawyer to learn how best to defend yourself in court.
Do not send us confidential information related to you or your company until you speak with one of our attorneys and get authorization to send that information to us.