If you have been charged with driving while under the influence of drugs in Richmond, the following is what you need to know regarding the most effective defenses and what factors may be important. For more specific information regarding your DUI drug case in Richmond, call and schedule a consultation with a Richmond DUI lawyer today.
The most common defense strategy for DUID cases is challenging the probable cause for the stop. This means your attorney will want to challenge why the officer had enough cause to stop you and then to test you. Furthermore, the attorney may want to take a look at how the officer conducted the field tests and secondly, how they obtained the blood.
Law enforcement test for the presence of drugs by conducting field tests, which are coordination tests similar to what you would receive on an alcohol DUI. More importantly, law enforcement will get your consent or use a warrant to obtain a sample of your blood to be tested for drugs. You can attempt to refuse the blood tests, however, if you do the officer can charge you with refusal and furthermore can obtain a warrant to take the blood.
One of the primary strategies defense attorneys use is determining how the blood test was conducted, who administered the test, and how the samples were handled. These chain of custody issues are very important in DUID cases, as is looking to see how the blood test handled from the officer to the nurse or doctor and then to the Division of Forensic Science.
In certain cases, a Richmond DUI lawyer may also think it worthwhile to challenge the results of the tests and how those results were interpreted, which is different than what would typically take place in an alcohol related DUI case.
Involuntary intoxication or impairment is most definitely a defense that your Richmond DUI attorney can raise. If you are unaware of the effects that the drugs would have on you, if you were drugged by someone else, or if your body had some sort of adverse reaction to the drug, involuntary intoxication can be an affirmative defense to a drug DUI case. You will need medical documentation and/or expert testimony to support that proposition.
As your defense counsel, we always want to be able to show that you were unaware of the effects of the medication, that there is no mixture of alcohol and drugs, and that you took the drugs correctly. If we can show this in court it can be a strong defense. However, if you took the drugs validly and you did not know that the alcohol would interact and cause the problem, the burden of proof is still on you and your attorney to establish that this mixture caused some unanticipated reaction in you.
Despite that fact that marijuana has been legalized in nearby states, there is yet to be any big differences in the city of Richmond regarding how DUID cases are handled. Ultimately the issue comes down to one of impairment, and if an individual is impaired to such a degree that they cannot operate a vehicle safely, officers will treat it the same whether it’s marijuana, alcohol, or heroin.
The safe amount of prescription drugs mixed with alcohol can most definitely create a situation where you are charged with DUI. If you’re taking prescription drugs, it is your obligation to know what effect they can have on you and to understand if alcohol can affect you. In addition to that, the court puts the burden and responsibility on you to not be impaired and to not operate a vehicle while impaired.
However, if it is an issue where you are not advised about the effect of the alcohol, or it was unknown at the time, this can also be raised as a defense.
In many cases with an accidental impairment case, we will use testimony from your doctor or another doctor as to the status of the impairment, what exactly was the issue, how the issue created the impairment and whether it was known or unknown. Did your body have an unknown reaction that you could not foresee? This would be the key issue to show to the commonwealth.
For a DUID charge, an attorney can do a number of things to assist those charges. Primarily, an attorney can raise a defense by challenging the stop and the results of the field sobriety tests, or by raising issues as to whether the impairment was intentional or not, and whether there was some adverse unknown reaction that the drugs had on you.
A Richmond DUI attorney can also negotiate with the prosecutors to try and obtain either a reduction or a dismissal if there are any issues regarding the stop and the testing that were conducted. Overall, having someone who knows what to expect and is familiar with the local legal system can be a big help as you face something as serious as a DUID charge.
It is important to hire an experienced Richmond DUI attorney, especially if you are facing a drug DUI, because of the intricacies of DUI prosecution. With a drug DUI, prosecutors have to show that you were knowingly impaired and what the impairment was. The officers also have to conduct a blood test. All of this must be done properly in accordance with certain rules, including handling all the evidence properly.
One of the things a lawyer will do is seek information about the blood test itself. The defense will want to know who handled the blood test and who performed the test. You need an attorney who understands what evidence to look for and knows how to negotiate with prosecutors in a case like this.
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