Leesburg DUI Drug Lawyer
If you have been charged with a DUI for driving while under the influence of a drug, you should contact a local DUI attorney immediately. A Leesburg DUI drug lawyer may be able to help guide you through the legal process. A drug DUI offense is a severe charge that can carry significant penalties. So call today and let a dedicated legal professional fight for you.
What is Drug Impairment DUI?
As with alcohol impairment, individuals may be charged with driving under the influence –DUI– or driving while intoxicated –DWI– in Virginia for being intoxicated or under the influence of drugs. A law enforcement officer makes observations of a person to include physical characteristics, driving behavior, performance on sobriety tests, and empirical tests by blood draw to make a determination that the individual is under the influence of drugs. The Virginia Code treats this violation the same as if someone is under the influence of alcohol. For more information, contact a DUI drug lawyer in Leesburg.
Differences Between a Drug DUI and an Alcohol DUI
The Virginia statute punishes someone convicted of a Leesburg drug DUI the same as a person found guilty of an alcohol DUI, with some exceptions. The notable exceptions are no enhanced mandatory minimum penalties for increased levels of intoxication based on drugs as there are with alcohol.
Someone may face mandatory minimum jail time for an alcohol level above 0.15 or above 0.20 respectively however, there is no similar mandatory minimum jail term imposed for a drug violation. The same mandatory minimums do apply for DUI second, third, or subsequent offenses regardless of whether it is an alcohol or a drug DUI.
Prescription DUI Charges
When an individual is given a prescription medication by a doctor, part of the agreement when taking the prescription is to not take it in a matter that endangers themselves or others. When someone takes a drug that has known side effects, the prescription label has a warning about drowsiness, operating heavy machinery, or other equipment, one could be charged with being under the influence of drugs. Even if someone has a prescription for the medication, when the influence of the drug makes it unsafe for them to operate a motor vehicle, they can still be arrested.
This type of impairment is commonly seen with sleeping medications, pain medications, and other prescriptions that depress the central nervous system causing slowed reaction times. In addition, a person may be charged with a separate criminal violation and convicted of a DUI for drugs that are recreational, but legal in other areas such as marijuana.
Involuntary Intoxication Defense
Involuntary intoxication is a limited defense in Virginia. It may be used when someone is forced to consume an intoxicant against their will or they did not knowingly consume something that caused the reaction. A substance slipped into a non-alcoholic drink that was not willingly consumed would be involuntary intoxication.
Another example is when someone takes a prescription medication that was the wrong prescription and had a side effect or they took a prescription that was the right prescription, but it caused a previously unknown side effect. An involuntary intoxication defense refers to a situation where the outcome is outside of the natural consequence of their action.
Contact a Leesburg DUI Drug Attorney Today
A drug DUI is slightly different from an alcohol DUI but just as serious. Even if the drug in question is a prescription, if it causes impairment, it may still be considered a DUI. To learn more, contact a Leesburg DUI drug lawyer today, and start working on your case.