Although DUI charges are most commonly associated with alcohol, you can be charged for driving under the influence of drugs as well. Below, a Culpeper County DUI lawyer discusses how you can be charged for driving under the influence of drugs, what the penalties are, and what mistakes you need to avoid if charged.
To learn more about DUI drug charges, call and schedule a consultation with an attorney today.
There are three ways an individual can be charged for drug related DUI. Any DUI requires that the prosecution prove the person was operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or both to a degree that impairs their ability to drive. In a DUI drug case impairment can be shown either by showing:
The biggest mistakes to avoid in a DUI drug case are answering the questions of the police beyond simply identifying yourself and providing your drivers’ license and vehicle registration. The police will often ask questions that are calculated to get an individual to confess to drug use. Because everyone has the right under the Fifth Amendment not to incriminate themselves, it’s perfectly valid, and in fact it is preferable, to tell police that you are exercising your right to remain silent.
The other common error that is made in drug DUI cases is performing field sobriety tests or any kind of test that is offered by the police. The purpose of the test is to establish probable cause for arrest and to assist police in establishing the guilt of the defendant. Individuals are not required to perform these tests and should not perform these tests.
Under the Virginia law, if an individual is driving on the highways of Virginia and police have probable cause to believe that they are under the influence while operating a motor vehicle, then the person will have the choice to either submit to a blood test or to be charged with refusal. A refusal charge can carry one year loss of license.
If the person elects to take the blood test, then they will be transported to a local hospital and the approved blood draw kit will be provided by the police officer to the doctor or other medical personnel, who will make the blood withdrawal and then give it to the police officer, who then places it in a sealed container and ships it to a forensics lab for analysis.
Impairment can also be proved by anything from driving behavior to appearance to slurred speech and unsteadiness standing on one’s feet or a failure to perform well on field sobriety tests. Everything the officer observes from the moment he spots the defendant can potentially be evidence of impairment.
It’s important to contact an experienced Culpeper County DUI lawyer if you’re facing a drug DUI, because there are a number of steps that can be taken immediately to assist you in your case, which only someone with local experience specializing in this area of law can best take advantage of.
In addition, DUI is a very complex area of law that has a great deal of complexity and there is additional nuance at the local level as to how these cases are tried and handled. By dealing with an experienced DUI lawyer with local experience who will be able to identify the defenses in your case and navigate the local ins and outs, you give yourself the best possible chance of achieving the best possible outcome in your case.
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