Unlike in most alcohol related DUI cases where you will be administered a breathalyzer, if you are pulled over and believed to be under the influence of drugs you will be prompted to take a blood test. Below, a Virginia DUI lawyer discusses this test and what you should expect from Virginia DUID cases. To learn more regarding your case, call and schedule a consultation today.
The presence of drugs in an individual’s system in the context of a DUI case is tested for by a blood test. The most common type of the test is the one that is approved for use in such cases and kept by the police, which they then give to the medical professional taking the blood, usually in a hospital setting. After the test is preformed, the vials of blood are then given back to the police to be delivered to the forensic lab for testing.
However, blood panels performed in regular course of treatment at the hospital, for example where someone is an accident and receiving treatment for injuries, can also be subpoenaed and used as evidence at trial.
The blood test is administered by a medical professional. The police have custody of a testing kit, which they then deliver to a doctor or nurse or some other person who is approved to take the test. That person then opens the kit, fills the vials that are contained inside with the blood of the accused, and properly labels them. The package is resealed by the police officer who then maintains custody of it until he or she delivers it or mails it to the Virginia Department of Forensic Science for testing.
The most common kinds of drugs that show up in these tests are marijuana, cocaine and crack, LSD, PCP, methamphetamine, opiates of various kinds, and also prescription drugs such as oxycodone, Percocet and Xanax.
Because the tests are sent to Department of Forensics for testing, the results may not be sent back to the court for many months, depending on how many other cases are waiting and how many other tests are waiting to be processed.
In extreme cases, it can take 6 months or more. In most cases, unless the active ingredient is a narcotic of some kind, allergy medications and many other kinds of over-the-counter medications are not detected by these tests.
Drug tests in DUI cases are very accurate in terms of detecting drugs in certain concentrations, though they cannot detect drugs below certain levels. There are certain scenarios where a false positive can be given, however. These scenarios are rare but can be investigated by the lawyer in conjunction with a forensic scientist to determine if there was some problem with the test. There are also very specific procedures which must be followed in administering the test to insure accuracy. If these are not followed, it may be the case that the result of the test will be kept out of evidence at trial, or even if it does come into evidence, not given very much weigh by the trial court.
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