Virginia DUI Drug Attorney
Being suspected of and charged with DUI does not automatically always refer to drunk drivers. A person can also be charged with DUI by driving under the influence of drugs – even if they are unknowingly impaired by a certain prescription medication they have taken.
Virginia, like most states, has an implied consent law. Whether the person is a resident or a visitor, as soon as they drive their car on a Commonwealth roadway, they agreed to consent for their blood to be tested for alcohol or drugs if they were arrested for suspicion of DUI.
If a person is facing a drug-related DUI charge, it is imperative that they contact a Virginia DUI Drug lawyer right away. A DUI attorney can help mitigate the potential damage of a conviction and can provide a person with a robust defense to possibly avoid conviction altogether.
Under Section 18.2-266 of the Code of Virginia, it is illegal for a person to operate a motor vehicle if they are under the influence of:
- Any self-administered intoxicant or other drugs
- A combination of drugs or alcohol
Even if they did not feel impaired, a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or greater creates a permissive inference that they are violating the law. Similarly, there are certain equivalents of the .08 level for controlled substances, however, most DUID cases require an expert toxicologist to determine how the drugs in the person’s system may have impaired them. It is a common misconception to the contrary, but even prescription medications can contribute to impairment and may be a factor that the right attorney can use to fight or limit the charges against them.
Not knowing the rules and legal procedures can leave a person at a disadvantage when they, or a loved one, have been charged with DUI. The first step to mitigate damage is to retain a DUI drug attorney in Virginia, who can explain the charge, the legal process, and possible defenses, plea options, and penalties.
Depending on the level of impairment, penalties for DUI can be severe for both first-time and repeat offenders. An experienced Virginia drug DUI lawyer, who knows the law and is familiar with drug classifications, can examine a driver’s history, alleged level of impairment, any medical problems, prior DWI/DUI arrests, and other aggravating and mitigating circumstances to lessen the impact if a conviction is unavoidable.
Charges and Penalties
As seriously as DUI is taken in the Commonwealth, the consequences of a possession charge added to it can be even more devastating. From Vicodin and Xanax to cocaine and heroin, Virginia imposes tough penalties for possession of any controlled substance.
Schedule I and II drugs like crystal meth and ecstasy may carry up to a 10-year prison sentence. Being under the influence or possessing even more commonplace drugs like cough syrup with codeine can also result in additional charges.
If an intoxicated driver is under the age of 21, the DUI rules are even stricter. A BAC of just 0.02% can result in a Class 1 misdemeanor conviction. A young driver faces tough penalties, sometimes just as severe as adults over the age of 21, depending on the facts and circumstances of their case.
If a student or young person has been arrested, they should trust a Virginia DUID lawyer to get their family through with the least impact on the student or young person’s future.
How a Lawyer Can Help
Driving while impaired and drug possession are serious crimes in the Commonwealth and they carry equally serious consequences. In addition to fines and jail time, a person may face loss of employment, increased insurance rates, and financial difficulty.
The best place to begin a defense after a person has been charged is to call a qualified Virginia drug DUI attorney, who can provide competent and professional legal advice.