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Virginia Beach Drug DUI: Sobriety & Drug Testing

Field sobriety tests are used for any types of DUIs. They are tests for signs of impairment. Since the signs of impairment are so similar, the tests are going to work really well whether it’s an alcohol or drug case.

It gives the officer a way to not only test someone’s control of their own body, but also an opportunity to observe how the person is doing, whether they can follow directions and carry on conversation, their general appearance and how they are moving, whether they appear alert and put together or not. A person can typically refuse to take a field sobriety test and get in touch with their drug DUI attorney in Virginia Beach without punishment.

Commonly Implicated Drugs in DUI

In drug DUI cases, the most common drugs that implicated are opiates. It makes sense that these types of drugs would be commonly found because they are the most likely to cause the driver to become impaired. There are a lot of illegally used painkillers or anxiety medications that often come up as well.

Marijuana Drug DUI in Virginia Beach

Marijuana is an illegal drug and it’s going to be more severe than somebody who is being pulled over for taking their allergy medication. In general, being impaired by anything is not going to change the severity of the charge.

Driving under the influence is something that the court and officers take very seriously and courts are not more understanding or less understanding based on whatever the driver was impaired by, unless it was very clear that whatever they were impaired by was accidentally ingested and there was no way that the driver could have realized it before they got behind the wheel.

Results of Drug Tests

In general, the results take about a month to come in, but sometimes, it can take a little bit longer. The drug tests are really accurate. They’re super detailed in terms of what was found in the person’s blood and in what quantities the substances were present. For Virginia Beach officers to detect drug impairment, generally, instead of a breathalyzer test, they will use the blood test which is administered at a hospital by medical personnel.

These tests can show almost anything that in general would not naturally be present in somebody’s blood. It will show not only the different substances, but it will also show in what quantity they were present. Issues with blood results are where a Virginia Beach drug DUI lawyer will be valuable in helping you argue against a charge.

Ways a Drug Test Can be Incorrect

It’s really unlikely and uncommon that these drug tests can be wrong. The issues that these drug tests have relate to them being improperly administered or the blood being mishandled after the test itself was taken.

When everything is done properly, the test is spot on every time, but there is always going to be some human error involved and if the sample is mishandled from the time that it’s drawn to the time that it is tested, then this can affect the accuracy, as well as if it’s administered outside of the window that is required within from when the driver was driving to when the driver’s blood was drawn. It is a small window and if you are outside of that, then the accuracy can also go down.

Refusing a Virginia Beach Drug Test

Technically, you can physically refuse to take a Virginia Beach drug test, but you don’t have a right to do so if there is probable cause for the DUI arrest. It is another charge for someone to refuse. They will charge you with refusal, which for the first offense it is just a civil offense, but the problem is that the consequences of a refusal charge are pretty difficult for the average person to deal with.

Consequences are a 12-month license suspension with no option of a restricted license. Unfortunately, what ends up happening is that people can’t accept these consequences even if they get the DUI dropped eventually because it’s really difficult for anybody to function for one whole year without the option to drive.

What to Expect in a Virginia Beach DUID Case

When someone has a DUI as well as a refusal charge, the immediate action that the Commonwealth will take is offer a plea deal where the person can plead guilty to the DUI, which is a more serious criminal offense, in exchange for having the civil offense of refusal dropped completely.

It backs an individual to a corner because if they don’t take the plea deal and then they lose, there is usually still enough evidence for them to have submitted to the blood test at all which means that even if they’re not guilty of the DUI, they still will be guilty of the refusal and then be subject to that 12-month suspension.

Role of Tests in a Drug DUI Case

The only real difference between how a DUID case is heard and an alcohol DUI case is hear will be what test was used to determine the individual’s level of impairment at the end. It would be either the breathalyzer if it’s an alcohol case or a blood test if it’s a drug case.

If what is at issue is drugs, then the blood test will be administered and typically at trial, there will be someone from the Department of Forensic Science who will testify regarding the results of the blood test and what they ultimately mean, but in terms of everything else, the arrest and the trial are generally the same because the process is exactly the same. The field sobriety tests are the same one and the officer is looking for the signs of impairment regardless of what the cause was.

The legalization of marijuana is unlikely to change anything because even if marijuana were to be legal in general, it is not going to be legal to drive impaired and if someone is impaired by a legal drug such as marijuana in the future, then they are still going to be guilty of driving while impaired which is the bigger issue here.

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