Virginia has very strict laws and regulations when it comes to traffic charges, including DUIs. With local law enforcement heavily focused on DUI and traffic enforcement, it is pertinent to make sure you protect yourself and understand the testing process in Norfolk drug DUI cases.
In addition to the preliminary information provided below, a Norfolk drug DUI lawyer can help you fight your case and win a favorable outcome in court. Call today to schedule a consultation and begin building your defense.
For drugs, the test that officers use is a blood test, which will be administered at a hospital by medical personnel, generally, a doctor or a nurse. Typically, it takes about a month but sometimes it can take longer. The results come from the Department of Forensic Science so it is up to them as to how long it takes. If they are backed up, it can take a lot longer.
The blood test shows a wide variety of substances and in general will show anything that is not naturally already supposed to be present in somebody’s blood. Thus, something like allergy medication will probably show up.
In Norfolk, someone is not going to have their blood drawn against their will. But refusing to take a test results in an additional charge of refusal. Oftentimes, the penalties of this charge are less manageable to somebody than the penalties that would be associated with a DUI conviction. A conviction for refusal results in a one-year license suspension without having the option
What ends up happening when someone refuses is that the Commonwealth will then offer them a plea deal where they can plead guilty to the DUI, which does come with the option of a restricted license, in exchange for a dismissal of the refusal charge. It’s a lot harder for attorneys to handle cases where someone refuses the test because it backs defendants into a corner where they don’t really have much of a choice but to accept the plea deal since not being able to drive at all for an entire year is really difficult if not impossible for the majority of the people.
The most common drugs implicated are opiates which makes sense since these are the types that are most likely to cause someone to be physically impaired. Illegally used painkillers or anxiety medications for example, things like Oxycodone or Xanax are also fairly common.
It is unlikely there will be any changes with respect to how law enforcement officials view drug use, despite the trend towards marijuana legalization across the country. It is possible for someone to be charged with driving under the influence of drugs even if the substance that they were impaired by was perfectly legal.
It is not the legality of the substance, but the fact that it is unsafe to operate a vehicle while impaired by any substance. Alcohol is legal for drivers 21 and over, but it’s not legal to operate a vehicle while impaired by alcohol.
Likewise, even if marijuana were to become legal, it still would not be acceptable for someone to operate a vehicle if they were not fully capable of doing so due to having impairment from the marijuana.
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