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Enforcement of DUI Drug Charges in Henrico County

Because all DUI cases, including DUD, are considered a priority for law enforcement in Henrico County, they will also be prosecuted harshly. Therefore, it is in your best interests to retain an experienced Henrico County DUI Drug attorney. A DUI defense lawyer will be able to help you with your case, including informing you of your rights, next steps, and whether it will have a more serious impact on your driving and criminal record.

How Henrico Police Treat DUID Charges

Drug DUI cases, and all DUI cases for that matter, are a priority for law enforcement in Henrico County. These cases are seen as a public safety concern for the county due to the number of DUI accidents and fatalities each year. In addition, there are a number of roadways and major thoroughfares which go through Henrico County, so the safety of the county at-large is an issue when dealing with DUI and DUID cases.

When pulled over, the officer will look for indicators of impairment such as slurred or stammering speech, and glassy or bloodshot eyes. The officer will evaluate your ability to follow instructions, to communicate, and to complete the test. In addition, the officer will look for other indicators of drug use like the smell of drugs in the vehicle, drug paraphernalia, or the drugs themselves.

Marijuana-Related Drug Cases

Marijuana-related drug cases and charges for possession and distribution are less severe than in the past. In fact, laws pertaining to marijuana are changing throughout the country. However, if an officer can show significant signs of impairment through either the failure of a road test, field sobriety test or blood test, they can charge you with a DUID.

Drug Impairment Tests in Henrico County

The test used to determine drug impairment is a blood test. Officers will usually take you to a local hospital to have a nurse and/or doctor draw blood. That blood will then be submitted to the Department of Forensic Science for testing.

Field Sobriety Tests

In drug cases the officer will use the field test not only to check your coordination, but also to gauge your ability to comprehend and follow instructions. For example, they will use the horizontal gaze nystagmus test to get a bearing on your eyes and determine if they are responsive. Glassy or bloodshot eyes are also indicators of drug use to police. Officers will use tests to determine your ability to communicate and follow instructions, as well as monitor your coordination to see if it is impaired.

Blood Tests

The blood tests are administered by a nurse or a doctor at a local hospital. The medical professional will then submit the sample and the paperwork to the Department of Forensic Science, acknowledging who they are and how they handled it. The Department of Forensic Science will then test the blood to determine exactly what substance is in the blood and how much of that substance is there.

It can take some time to get the results back from the DUID blood test. Typically, it could take anywhere from a few weeks to up to 30 or 60 days, depending on the Department of Forensic Science and how much of a backlog they have.

You can refuse to take a blood test in Henrico County. If you do refuse to take a blood test you will be charged with refusal. In addition to that they can obtain a warrant to obtain the blood from you.

Accuracy of Tests

Drug tests in Henrico County typically are fairly accurate. The Department of Forensic Science actually does a very good job in examining the blood. However, these tests can be challenged. One of the best ways is to challenge how the sample was handled, also known as the chain of custody. In addition to that, you can also challenge the amount of drug found and how that drug may affect you.

Most Commonly Implicated Drugs in DUID Cases

Most DUID cases in Henrico County involve opiates such as a heroin or oxycodone. Other drugs commonly seen in DUID cases involve methamphetamine and in some cases marijuana. The blood test will detect nearly every substance in your blood, but authorities are only interested in examining drugs and/or other chemicals in the body that are not seen to be natural to the blood. In addition to that, they are looking for substances which can cause impairment.

DUI Drug Charges v. Regular DUI Charges

For the most part a DUID and a DUI for alcohol case play out very similarly. The officer will testify as to why he or she stopped an individual. They will testify as to what tests they performed and what indicators of impairment the individual exhibited. In addition, with the DUID case the blood test will be administered and the breath alcohol test will be given. For both, the prosecution will attempt to submit the certificates of the results to the court. Typically an Henrico County police officer who administered the drug test and/or the breath alcohol test will appear in court and submit a certificate of analysis as to their findings.

The big difference with a DUID case is the blood test, which raises several more questions about the levels of impairment which can be found. In comparison to a DUI alcohol case where only a breath alcohol test is used, many more substances can be detected and analyzed in a DUID blood test.

Possible Changes in Prosecution of DUID

Generally, DUID cases involving marijuana are not being handled any differently than they have been previously. In most Henrico County DUID cases if the level of impairment due to marijuana adversely affects your ability to drive, officers will charge you with DUID. Changes in the marijuana laws are not likely to impact the DUID charges because it becomes a public safety issue regarding your operation of the vehicle.

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