Although it is still considered to be driving under the influence, there are a number of differences between the way a driving under the influence of drugs and driving under the influence of alcohol cases are defended and prosecuted in court.
With this in mind, the following is information on some of these differences and what you should expect if charged with a DUID in Virginia. To learn more specific information regarding your case call and schedule a consultation with a Richmond DUI Drug lawyer today.
With a DUID case, the process and the procedures are very similar to a DUI alcohol case. After you have been charged, you will be taken to a court magistrate to determine your bond or whether you receive a personal recognizance bond or you are released on the spot. In addition to that, if your bond is refused, you will go in front of a judge for an arraignment. At that point of time, you can request a bond hearing.
In addition, what the magistrate will do is advise you of your right to an attorney, your right to get court-appointed counsel, and advise you if you’d like to hire your own attorney.
The trial will typically be set anywhere from 60 to 90 days from the arrest date. One of the differences with a DUID case is that since the Division of Forensic Science must conduct a blood test, which can sometimes delay a case. In addition, cases where we are using an expert witness require a lengthy discovery, and in many case a lengthy trial. In many cases, the DUID case can take much, much longer than a standard DUI alcohol case.
It is usually recommended that an individual contact an attorney immediately following their release from jail. If their bond is withheld, then it is recommended that the defendant call an attorney the minute they’re given an opportunity to use the phone.
A DUI for alcohol and a DUI for drugs are similar in terms of the punishments doled out for each crime. In addition, the officer’s testimony is usually the same regarding the signs of impairment, the tests they conducted, and why they were arrested. Where they differ is that there is no elevation for minimum mandatory jail time with a DUID like there is in a DUI alcohol case.
In addition to that, with the DUID case, the arguments usually come down to the blood test, how it was drawn, and how it was handled by the officer and/or the nurse who drew the blood, or the doctor, and how the test was transported to the Division of Forensic Science.
For these reasons, an attorney will be looking for issues in how the blood was taken, how the blood was handled, and the results of this test. This differs substantially from a DUI alcohol case where the breathalyzer machine is usually 100 percent accurate. They don’t have to handle any samples or anything like that. In addition with the DUI case, we routinely ask for an independent test and will often use expert witnesses to dispute the findings.
It is actually much more difficult for the state to prove that a driver was operating while under the influence of drugs compared to a normal drunk driving charge. The ratios of the drug in the blood also differ and can differ from individual to individual. There are also questions as to when the levels could impair you or when they were actually in effect causing any impairment in your driving. So, there are a number of issues with DUID cases that just don’t exist with the DUI alcohol charges.
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