DUI drug cases are no laughing matter in Henrico County. They are treated just as seriously as any other DUI case, with the potential for heavy fines, suspended license, and even jail time, should someone get convicted. DUI charges are misdemeanors, which means that unlike a traffic infraction, this stays on your criminal record permanently, and can seriously impact your ability to be hired, among other things. It is therefore very important to retain an experienced Henrico County DUI drug attorney, as they will be able to help you understand the case process for Henrico DUI charges, inform you of your rights, next steps, and what the likely outcome of your case could be.
The main thing which an individual needs to know about a Henrico County DUI drug case is what the state needs to prove in order to convict them. That is, the state needs to show that the individual operated the vehicle while impaired. They need to show the test results which indicated the levels of drug intoxication in the blood as well as the levels that show impairment.
An individual charged with a DUID also needs to know the possible penalties for a case like this. In many situations the penalties for a DUI drug case can be the same or even more severe than those for a normal DUI alcohol case.
If you are stopped while driving and the officer suspects that you are impaired, the officer will ask you to conduct a series of tests. These tests not only gauge your coordination, but also your ability to comprehend and follow instructions. In some cases the officer will ask you to blow into a Breathalyzer if they think alcohol may be involved.
If you fail these tests and the officer believes that drugs are involved or they find drugs in the vehicle or on your person, they will then take you to a hospital to get a blood test. The police officer can get a court order to obtain blood if you refuse. Next they will obtain the blood test and then the officer will formally arrest you and take you before a magistrate to be processed.
You can typically contact an attorney for the first time after you have been in front of the magistrate. This would be after the blood test and after you have been formally arrested. They will take you to the police station and at the police station a magistrate will officially read you your charges. After this is done you are usually given an opportunity to make a phone call.
When you are facing a DUI drug charge in Henrico County, there are a number of things a defense attorney can do. Number one, an attorney can tell you how best to prepare for a case like this and advise you of the possible penalties you may be facing. They can also recommend ways to help mitigate the damages, whether that be through drug or alcohol counseling, letters of reference, or things of that nature.
What an attorney can also do is develop defense strategies to try to get the case reduced and/or dismissed, and also negotiate with the prosecutors in order to find a better resolution.
The defense strategies for a DUI drug charge can vary greatly. They can start with challenging the stop. The question is whether there was probable cause for the officer to stop you, and subsequently was there probable cause for the officer to arrest you for DUID? In other words, was your performance on the test and/or your driving indicative of impairment?
Next, another defense strategy would revolve around the blood test and how it was obtained and handled. This is to challenge whether the person who took your blood was qualified to do so and whether your blood was handled using the proper chain of custody. Last, we will challenge the results of the blood test, or whether the results were indicative of impairment.
The biggest mistake to avoid in a Henrico DUI drug case is to not use an attorney. Do not simply choose to plead guilty, or show up with the prescription thinking it is a valid prescription and you cannot be charged. DUI drug cases and DUI cases in general carry significant penalties which can affect your employment and can affect you for the rest of your life. They are criminal charges which will result in long-term license suspensions and possible long-term jail sentences.
If you are stopped and arrested for DUI in Henrico County, the officer does not need your consent to search your vehicle. If it is just an initial stop and there have been no issues regarding alcohol or drugs, you can object to or refuse to allow a search. However, once an officer has charged you with DUI or DUID and/or arrested you, they can conduct a search of your vehicle. If your vehicle is impounded, the police can also search it in what is called an investigatory or inventory search, and anything found in there can be used against you.
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