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Once an individual is pulled over and believed to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, there are a series of steps law enforcement will take to investigate that individual, in order to decide whether or not to make an arrest. While these tests may seem minor or unimportant at the time, they can often be used as evidence in an eventual trial making it important that those stopped understand their rights and exercise them when possible. Furthermore, for those taken into custody, it is important a Chantilly DUI lawyer is contacted to examine the evidence that was compiled and build a strong defense.
There are many different field sobriety tests that officers may administer after pulling over a driver on suspicion of driving under the influence. The three most common field sobriety tests that are approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, are:
Unfortunately, there are others that are not approved by the NHTSA that are often used by officers in the field. Officers will sometimes make up their own sobriety tests, or decide which tests to employ at that particular stop. Those tests include:
If an individual is asked to take a field sobriety test, it is recommended that they decline. Nothing detrimental can happen if an individual declines to take a field sobriety test. By refusing, the person could anger the police officer, but nothing will happen if the person politely declines to participate in field sobriety tests. It will only help their case.
Field sobriety tests play a very important part in a person’s case. If there is no observable driving behavior, or no blood alcohol level because the person declines to take a PBC or a breathalyzer, then the only evidence to utilize is the person’s performance on a field sobriety test. This is one of the most crucial elements of defending a Chantilly DUI case – refusing to take any field sobriety tests.
In Fairfax County, another element of a Chantilly DUI case is the administration of a breath test. There is an individual that administers the breath test at the jail. This individual will be using a specific machine that they have been trained on. The machine is then calibrated in a certain way, and the accused individual will be asked to blow into it. The machine, having previously been tested, will then take in the person’s blood alcohol level based on a series of chemical analyses that the machine has quickly performed.
An officer can request for blood to be drawn, but they usually need to get a warrant to request this. The blood test will usually occur at the detention center. A person can refuse a blood test, but it’s part of the implied consent law, so the same rules apply as to a breathalyzer test: by driving on the roads in Virginia, a driver enters into “implied consent.” Therefore, if there’s probable cause for a blood test, there can be a request for it to be administered.
The only thing that needs to happen for a crash investigation to transition to a DUI investigation is for the officers at the scene to report any evidence of alcohol, or anything relating to a connection to alcohol. In this case, the officers will start investigating for a DUI. Any statements you made during a crash investigation will be used against you in court.
A critical element in any Chantilly DUI case is the evidence of a controlled substance. A controlled substance is anything that the federal government has declared to be classified as such. This list is constantly changing. It depends on the makeup of the drug, but it’s usually some kind of prescription drug or some kind of illicit or illegal substance. When an undetermined drug is in play, a drug recognition examiner will be called to the investigation. A drug recognition examiner is somebody who will be able to take a look at a drug, analyze it, and decide whether or not that drug is going to be a controlled substance or an illegal substance under federal law. This is based on the chemical makeup of the substance.
It is extremely important to provide prescription and medical information to an attorney when controlled substances are involved. The exact amount of the drug taken as compared to the dosage prescribed and the type of drug involved could make a significant difference in the defense for a DUI. Some types of medications will always be problematic when it comes to DUI cases, which is why it is crucial to make sure an experienced attorney is present. Only they can help prepare the best possible defense, paying specific attention to the particular elements of each case.
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