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Tests Used In Loudoun County DUI Drug Cases

If pulled over and suspected of driving while under the influence of drugs you will likely be administered a series of tests to measure your impairment. Below a Loudoun County DUI drug lawyer discusses these tests and how they differ from those used for only alcohol.

Are There Tests Similar To Breathalyzer Tests That Officers Use To Detect Drug Impairment?

No, there are no testing procedures available at the roadside to test for the presence of drugs in your body.  Officers will look for the physical presence of drugs on your person or in the vehicle and combine that with their training and experience to determine whether they have probable cause for a DUID arrest.

Can You Refuse To Take Any Sort Of Tests In Loudoun?

You may and should refuse to perform FSTs and you may also refuse a PBT test.  However, if you are arrested for suspicion of a DUID, you will most likely be transported to the local hospital to get a blood test. This is part of the Virginia implied consent law. It requires you to submit a breath sample in an alcohol-related case and it also requires that you submit a blood sample in a drug-related case. If you refuse to take the blood test after being read the Implied Consent statute and its consequences, you will be charged for Unreasonable Refusal.

Unreasonable Refusal, pursuant to Virginia Code Section 18.2 – 268.3, is a civil violation for a first offense. However, it is a civil violation with serious consequences, including 12 months loss of traffic liberties. Depending on the unique circumstances of your case, however, refusal of the blood test may be a good idea.

How Long Does It Take To Get Results?

Typically it takes a minimum of 90 days to get blood results from the Department of Forensic Science (DFS). This timeline is subject to change and often the blood maybe returned faster if there is a presence of alcohol as well in the blood. However, blood tests are in high demand by the Commonwealth and there is a large backlog of cases for DFS to address.

Can They Pickup Substances Like Allergy Medications That Are Not Illegal?

DFS will look for a variety of different known intoxicants and any other concentration in your blood test. Typically the list of known intoxicants is limited to known drugs of abuse and known prescription medications, and they are likely to review this. However, depending on the circumstances of your case, other substances such as allergy medications, cough syrup, depending on their origin, may show up in a blood test.

What Administers Blood Tests?

The blood test is administered by the local hospital professional under supervision of the arresting officer. There are specific procedures and protocols to be followed when a blood test is given. It is different from when you go to a hospital to give blood for a medical exam, or if your blood is tested for a routine checkup.

The testing procedure is outlined in the administrative procedures of the Virginia Code. It is different from a “normal” blood test and the type of blood they are testing is different. After the sample is taken by someone who is approved by DFS, they will take the test following the specific protocols and the two vials are sent to the Department of Forensic Science, also known as DFS. The DFS labs tests one of the vials. The secondary vial is preserved in case a motion for a second test is requested by the defense.

How Accurate Are These Tests In Drug DUI Cases?

In any tests that is performed by the Department of Forensic Science, there is a certain accepted standard of variation, or margin of error. This information is provided along with the certificate showing the test results from DFS.  These DFS tests are typically quite accurate.

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