Arlington Drug DUI Charges
In Arlington, drug DUIs are treated very similarly to alcohol-related DUIs. However, there are some differences in the laws that govern the two different types of DUIs. Contact an Arlington DUI lawyer as soon as possible to start building a defense.
DUI Drug Charges in Arlington
You can be convicted of DUI for driving under the influence of drugs in Arlington. The code sections say you can be convicted of DUI while driving the motor vehicle while under the influence of any narcotic drugs, any other self-administered intoxicant or any combination of such drugs that impairs your ability to operate any motor vehicle.
Essentially, if you are charged with a DUID, all the state has to do to convict you of DUI for drug-related impairment is to show you have taken drugs and the drug has impaired your ability to drive or operate a motor vehicle. All prosecutors are looking for is the impairment of your ability to drive or operate a motor vehicle.
Arlington prosecutors do not have to show the specific amount of drugs you have taken. They do not have to show the specific type of drug you have taken. What they are looking for is the effect of drugs on your ability to drive a car and they assess that based on their observations of your speech, your mental activity, your eyes, your coordination, and your ability to follow instructions.
Additionally, in Virginia, certain drugs at certain levels in your system are considered evidence of intoxication. Even if you are not necessarily showing impairment, Virginia law states that you can be convicted of a DUID while you’re driving a motor vehicle with a blood concentration of any of the following substances at a level that is equal to or greater than: .02 milligrams of cocaine per liter of blood, 0.1 milligrams of methamphetamine per liter of blood, .01 milligrams of phencyclidine per liter of blood, or 0.1 milligrams of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine per liter of blood.
While these charges are taken seriously and prosecuted harshly, there are still valid defenses that individuals can use in court. Speak with an experienced Arlington drug DUI lawyer today to begin building a defense.
Levels for Conviction
There are two separate ways you can be convicted of DUI for drugs in Virginia. The first is to show any signs of impairment by drugs. The second is having certain levels of certain drugs in your system whether impaired or not. That is the way that you can be convicted in Virginia.
What local law enforcement officials are saying in these charges is if they arrest you for driving under the influence, or any other driving offense, they will take your blood. Once your blood has been taken, they will send it to the lab to be analyzed. After an analysis of your blood, if it shows drugs in your system at third levels, then you will be convicted of a drug-related DUI even if you don’t show impairment.
Legal or Over-the-Counter Medications
You can be charged with a drug DUI in Arlington when you have legal or prescribed drugs in your system. It does not need to be an illegal drug. If you have taken any legal drug to the point that it has impaired your ability to drive a vehicle, even if prescribed as drugs, you can be convicted. The key is impairment.
For example, Benadryl is a legal drug. But if you went to the store, bought it and drank a bottle of it, and it impaired you to the extent that it was noticeable to the police you cannot drive, you will be charged with a drug-related DUI in Arlington.
Additionally, there are prescribed drugs, like Ambien, that might be legal for you because it’s prescribed to you. If you take that drug, get behind the wheel and drive in an Ambien-induced state, you can be convicted of DUI drug. Just because the drug is legal does not mean that you can drive. Alcohol is a legal substance. However, you can be convicted of DUI alcohol when you take too much of a legal substance.
Penalties for Arlington DUI Drug Charges
The penalties are the same for DUI drugs as they are for DUI alcohol. They’re charged in the same code section, just a different subsection. They are treated almost exactly the same as DUIs by alcohol. The one difference is that there are no mandatory minimums for high levels of drugs in your system like there is for high levels of alcohol.
Otherwise, the punishment for a drug-related DUI in Arlington is the same as an alcohol-related DUI. For first or second offense, there will be a class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine. In addition, you will be required to enter and to complete an Alcohol Safety Action Program. You will lose your license for one year. That is the same punishment for DUI drugs or DUI alcohol.