When one thinks of the term DUI, drunk drivers typically come to mind. But what about those individuals who are driving while under the influence of drugs or get behind the wheel after taking prescription drugs? Not all DUI convictions result from a reckless drive home after a night out drinking.
Some DUI convictions can result from driving while one is unaware that they are physically or mentally impaired by a necessary prescription medication.
If you have been charged with a drug-related DUI, it is important that you seek a Virginia drug DUI lawyer who can provide you with a proper and effective defense to help you avoid a criminal conviction or, if that is not possible, mitigate the potential damage caused by the penalties.
The Virginia Criminal Code addresses driving under the influence in Section 18.2-266. The Code states that it is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle, including mopeds, engines, and trains, while impaired in the following degrees:
The penalties associated with a DUI or DWI charge will vary, depending upon the driver’s level of impairment, the classification and amount of drug(s) and/or alcohol found in possession, prior alcohol- or drug-related offenses and other aggravating factors.
A knowledgeable Virginia DUI drug attorney can help someone charged with such an offense by explaining the laws and consequences as they pertain to the specific charges and he or she can work diligently to avoid a DUI conviction or limit the impact to one’s personal and professional life if conviction cannot be avoided.
If you are caught in possession of or under the influence of a controlled, dangerous substance (CDS) in Virginia, the repercussions may be great — not only financially speaking, but in terms of your personal reputation as well. The Code of Virginia addresses drug possession under “Crimes of Health and Safety,” Chapter 7, Title 18.2.
It is here that drugs are classified based on their addictive and intoxicating tendencies and each specific drug class carries with it specific penalties. The drug classifications, not including marijuana, are as follows:
The most severely charged possession offense is for that of Schedule I or Schedule II drugs. A charge for possession of this class of drugs is a Class 5 felony and, upon conviction, is punishable by a maximum fine of $2,500 and a maximum of 10 years in prison.
Schedule I and Schedule II drugs include methamphetamine (crystal meth), cocaine (crack or coke), LSD (acid), Quaaludes, morphine, ecstasy (MDMA), and heroin, just to name a few. These so-called illicit drugs are highly addictive and can cause extreme physical-chemical reactions in the body.
Possession of Schedule III drugs is a Class 1 misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500. Codeine, hydrocodone (including Lorcet and Vicodin), and anabolic steroids are just a few of the drugs that fall into this classification.
Tranquilizers, such as Xanax, are considered Schedule IV drugs and may result in up to six months in jail and a fine up to $1,000.
Schedule V and Schedule VI drugs include cough medications which contain codeine and other prescription drugs which are not otherwise classified. Illicit possession of these drugs is a Class 3 or Class 4 misdemeanor, respectively, and carries a penalty of $250 to $500 in fines.
Being under the influence of any of these drugs, whether legal or not and whether prescribed or not, does not excludes a person from charges of driving while impaired by the effects of the drug. Although we often hear of the ramifications of drunk driving, driving while high or under the influence of prescription medication is likewise prohibited and can be considered a DUI drug (DUID). Contact a Virginia drug DUI lawyer today to learn more.
Driving while impaired by drugs and/or alcohol can have serious consequences. The penalties are harsh in the Commonwealth, and with accompanying drug possession charges, those penalties may intensify dramatically. If you have been charged with DUI in Virginia, it is imperative that you seek professional legal representation from a Virginia DUI drug lawyer.
With a skilled defense attorney, you may be able to limit the impact of the charges against you.
Call our Virginia law offices today to schedule your free consultation and find out how our team of attorneys can help.
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