While DUI drug charges are not as common as regular charges for driving under the influence of alcohol, they do happen often. In addition, convictions on these charges are common.
While being charged with the offense does not mean that you are convicted, prosecutors take these cases seriously and will often try their best to obtain a conviction. If you are facing these charges, you may wish to consult a Virginia drug DUI lawyer who can help contest them and mitigate the potential penalties.
There are numerous ways to be convicted of a drug DUI. Sometimes law enforcement officials will do a blood analysis to see if there are certain levels of drugs present in your system. If drugs are present in your system at certain levels, you may be found guilty based upon the drug concentration in your blood.
For example, if Virginia law enforcement officials take your blood and determine that you have 0.02 mg of cocaine per liter of blood, that alone can cause you to be found guilty of driving under the influence of drugs, or DUID. Additionally, if you have 0.01 mg of methamphetamine or 0.01 mg of phencyclidine per liter of blood, you can be found guilty of DUID. If you have these drugs in your system at all, that alone can be enough to convict you of driving under the influence of drugs in Virginia.
Prosecutors can also use the officers’ observations of your behavior to convict you of a drug DUI. If you speak with police and admit that you’ve been using drugs, or that you are currently under the influence of drugs or a combination of drug and alcohol, prosecutors can use these statements against you as well. With so many ways for the prosecution to reach a conviction, it is vital to have an experienced Virginia drug DUI attorney’s guidance throughout the process.
Every case differs on its facts and, thus, defenses must be approached on a case-by-case basis. However, there are some common strategies that defense attorneys will use to try to defeat a charge of driving under the influence of drugs. First, a defense attorney will look for evidence of whether the police acted in accordance with the Constitution when it comes to the stop of your vehicle and your ultimate arrest. If police stop your car without reasonable suspicion or if they arrested you without probable cause, then evidence of your intoxication may be suppressed at trial. If that happens, it is unlikely that you will be found guilty.
Next, a Virginia drug DUI attorney will attempt to point out to the fact finder that the police either did not remember correctly the observations they made of your level of intoxication or your actions were not as indicative of intoxication as police claim they were. A defense attorney will point out inconsistencies in police testimony and problems with the police’s memory or recollection of what occurred. An experienced lawyer can also find alternative explanations for the behavior the police did observe, and present these explanations to the judge.
Additionally, a Virginia DUID lawyer should investigate whether the blood sample that was taken was handled appropriately. This includes whether there is any breaks in the chain of custody of the sample, whether the analysis was administered correctly, whether there was perhaps a false positive, or whether any other issues exist with the test.
Even if you have never purchased any illegal drugs, you may still find yourself in need of legal assistance from a local Virginia drug DUI lawyer. Even so, while this is the case, the Virginia code does list certain illegal drugs that cannot be in your system in any amount. In instances where a person has been charged with driving under the influence, the main issue at hand is the act of operating a motor vehicle while impaired; the source of impairment is a separate concern.