Prince William County DUI Drug Lawyer

A person can be charged with a DUI for drug-related impairment if they are observed to be intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle either exclusively or partially due to non-alcohol intoxicants. These intoxicants can include both legal and illegal drugs.

The penalties associated with a drug DUI do not formally differ under Virginia law from the penalties associated with an alcohol DUI. However, the court might order additional components of probation related to substance abuse as part of its sentence beyond the mandatory alcohol-based penalties provided for by law. The sentencing court might also treat a drug DUI conviction more seriously in terms of fines and jail time if the drug at issue was particularly dangerous or illicit to possess and consume.

If you are facing charges, you should reach out to a Prince William County drug DUI lawyer today. A seasoned DUI attorney could fight for you and help you reach a favorable resolution to your case.

DUI Charges Involving Legal or Prescribing Drugs

Just as a person can be charged with a DUI based on alcohol-related impairment even when the alcohol was legally acquired and consumed by the person beforehand, a person can be charged with a DUI based on drug-related impairment even when the underlying drugs were legally obtained and consumed. If the driver had a prescription to the drug, but the drug caused the impairment, then they could still face a DUI charge.

An over-the-counter drug that causes intoxication could also lead to a DUI charge. Both alcoholic beverages and over-the-counter drugs contain warning labels and instructions that forbid certain levels of consumption before operating a motor vehicle. People are legally expected to read the warning labels and know how the drug may impact their ability to drive a vehicle.

Is Involuntary Intoxication a Defense for a Drug DUI?

Involuntary intoxication is rarely a viable defense in any case in Virginia, including DUIs. The elements of DUI charges do not focus on why or how an accused became intoxicated before driving. Therefore, the formal perspective would be that the voluntariness of the intoxication is irrelevant. Usually, a person will realize they are intoxicated before getting into the driver’s seat, even if their previous consumption was brought about involuntarily. In that scenario, the law would impose a duty on the person not to drive until they have sobered up.

Involuntary intoxication is different than mistaken intoxication. When a person takes a drug on their own free will, that is a voluntary act. Although the person may be misinformed or negligent in their understanding of what effects a drug will have after being consumed, that does not mean the drug was consumed involuntarily.

Drug and Alcohol Interaction

Drivers are legally expected to understand that mixing alcohol and drugs can cause unsafe and unpredictable effects on their bodies which makes driving too risky to undertake. Many legal drugs also contain labeling to this effect in terms of being mixed with alcohol. Consult with a drug DUI lawyer in Prince William County for more information.

Testing the Presence of Drugs

In Virginia, the only way to scientifically test drivers for the presence of non-alcohol drugs is to conduct a blood test. In a blood test, the individual is administered a blood draw and the drawn blood is subjected to various levels of testing by a forensic laboratory or hospital.

Due to recent changes in constitutional law from the U.S. Supreme Court, Virginia is no longer allowed to punish the refusal of a blood test as a crime. Therefore, a refusal of a blood test in Prince William County is never more than a civil violation, however, the licensing penalties are severe. For a first-offense refusal of a blood test, there is a one-year revocation of license or driving privileges without exception, which is added onto whatever other suspensions or revocations one might receive for other driving offenses. An individual facing these penalties should reach out to a knowledgeable attorney right away.

Call a Prince William County Drug DUI Attorney

An accomplished Prince William County drug DUI lawyer could fight for you throughout the legal process. Drug DUI cases are complex, which is why it is advisable to obtain a seasoned attorney as soon as possible. A drug DUI offense can lead to jail time, expensive fines, probation, driver’s license suspension, and other repercussions. Call today and set up a consultation if you are facing charges.

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