Alexandria DUI Drug Lawyer
In Alexandria, a person can be charged with a DUI for drug-related impairment, and the penalties are exactly the same if you are charged with DUI for alcohol or DUI for consumption of legal or illegal drugs.
Even when taking legal drugs, a person can be charged and convicted of a drug DUI, which is even more reason why a person should retain an Alexandria drug DUI lawyer in this case. Section 18.2-266 does not differentiate between the consumption of legal or illegal drugs. The only concern is whether or not the person consumed drugs to the point of intoxication or to the point of impairment where their ability to drive a motor vehicle safely is impaired.
How Do Officers Decide Whether to Charge Someone With a DUID?
If reasonable articulable suspicion is present for the officer to make the traffic stop, that means the individual has violated some sort of traffic law, or has been involved in an accident and then an officer’s training experience indicates that there is something that is impairing their driving behavior that is clearly not alcohol.
Officers are specifically trained in drug recognition techniques and although the acronym, DRE, or Drug Recognition Expert does necessarily apply in Virginia, the same training is universal throughout law enforcement. It means that the law enforcement officers are looking for things like slow responsiveness, lethargy, nervousness, signs of anxiety, sweating or a lack of sweat, the ability to focus on a task, the ability to answer questions, and the ability to perform simple tasks. If this impairs your ability to operate a motor a vehicle safely, you may very well be arrested for DUID.
What Should Someone Expect After a Drugged Driving Arrest?
If you are arrested for DUID, you should expect the officer will ask for permission to take a blood test under the Virginia implied consent law similar to the ability to take a breath test. When there is no alcohol at play, the accused is transported to a hospital for a blood test. There are multiple ways that a blood test can be gathered. You have your consent or through a search warrant, but the most common is the officer will ask for your permission to take a blood sample if possible.
Mistakes to Avoid
If a person is taking prescription drugs that have a warning about operating motor vehicles or machinery, the person should heed these warnings. If the warnings include the possibility of being drowsy or having a slow reaction time, be aware of that and make alternative transportation arrangements. However, if a person finds himself or herself driving behind the wheel and charged with DUID, contacting a qualified Alexandria DUI drug lawyer as soon as possible is in their best interest.
The defense of involuntary intoxication is extremely limited in Virginia. Typically, a person is responsible for the things in their body, including drugs or alcohol. If they took a legal substance and it caused impairment, the only way an involuntary intoxication defense is going to work is if they had no forethought or warning that they would become intoxicated or impaired as a result of consuming that drug or medicine.
Overall, if an individual is voluntarily taking some drug in Alexandria, but did not know the full extent of how the drug would affect them, they are still responsible for what goes in their body.
In Alexandria, there is the observation of the DUI suspected as well as field sobriety tests that are going to be employed if someone is believed to be under the influence of drugs or under the influence of alcohol. If, however, they are believed to be on drugs but not alcohol, they will typically be taken to the local hospital for a blood draw if the arrest was for suspicion of DUI.
Contacting an Alexandria DUID Attorney
DUIs or drug DUIs are highly complex cases in Alexandria. In terms of the impairment and impaired behavior that is shown for drug cases, it is typically different than what may be present for alcohol cases. In addition, the way drugs are tested in a blood test can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and can be subjected to some screening.
In addition, the amount of a drug in someone’s system, what it means, and what it does varies from person to person. It is important to understand the toxicology of these cases and where defenses may arise since they may rely on defenses in drug cases that may not exist in alcohol cases.
Notably, the presence of drugs, especially the presence of prescription drugs, does not create the same inference that alcohol does. For alcohol there is permissive inference when someone’s BAC is above 0.08 in Alexandria. There is really not an equivalent for legal drugs, and there is only an equivalent for certain illegal drugs. It is important to understand how these different levels may be used, how they may be tried or attempted to be used against someone charged with DUID, and how defenses may arise.