Alexandria Drug DUI Lawyer
A person could be charged with DUI for a drug-related impairment if the person is stopped by a police officer and they suspect that they are under the influence of drugs. The individual could be arrested for suspicion of DUI and taken in for a blood test. This blood test is sent to the state laboratory, the Department of Forensic Science, where they use a process called gas chromatography to break down the blood to determine what, if any, intoxicants are present in the bloodstream at the time that it was taken. Once those results come back, the person could be charged with a drug-related DUI offense.
If you have been arrested for a drug DUI offense, reach out to a dedicated DUI attorney. Let an Alexandria drug DUI lawyer advocate for you and protect your rights.
Prescription Drug Intoxication
A person could be charged with a drug-related impairment, even when it involves legal or prescribed drugs. The statute in Virginia says nothing about whether the drug was legal or illegal. It only says while under the influence of a drug that impairs the ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. For example, this could be true for people taking Ambien and then getting behind the wheel. Some drugs, perhaps even certain antihistamines like Benadryl, could trigger a wooziness or dizziness that constitutes impairment under Virginia law.
Anyone taking drugs that may or may not have an impact on their ability to operate a vehicle safely should take it when they are not planning to drive to see how it makes them feel. If they take a Benadryl for the first time in their life and get behind the wheel of a car, it could potentially constitute enough impairment to have them found guilty of a DUI.
Involuntary intoxication is not a defense for a drug DUI in Alexandria. A person who takes a drug, whether or not they knew it would impair them at the time they took it, is still responsible for everything that goes into their body and how it affects them. If a person voluntarily gets behind the wheel of a car and drives while they are on a drug, even if they did not know it would impact their ability to operate safely, they are still guilty of a DUI, assuming that the government could prove every other element of the case. Not knowing they would be impaired and not knowing how a particular drug would affect their ability to drive is never a defense to a DUI.
If the driver did not know that the drug would impair them, the prosecution could assert that they are still guilty of voluntary intoxication. Whether their intoxication is voluntary or not is not an element that the government must prove to sustain a conviction for the DUI. If they choose to go forward with the trial, whether or not they intended to consume something that impaired their ability to drive is not a relevant issue at trial. This being said, an experienced Alexandria drug DUI lawyer could still fight to get the charges reduced.
Independent Blood Testing
The biggest mistake for defendants to avoid in a drug-related DUI case is not having their blood analyzed by an independent laboratory. When a DUI in Alexandria is prosecuted with a blood sample, the government is required to extract two samples and keep them in two separate vials for processing. One of those vials is processed by the state laboratory, the Department of Forensic Sciences. The second one is the defendants. They have to file a motion with the court to have that second sample sent off to an independent laboratory of their choosing.
After that motion is granted, the Department of Forensic Sciences ships that blood to the independent laboratory for testing. Once that testing is back, they know for sure the contents of their blood work. It is possible that the state lab made a mistake. They are human beings operating scientific machines, so there is room for human error in these kinds of cases. An independent laboratory is always a good idea to double check the state’s work. For more information, contact a seasoned defense lawyer.
Contact an Alexandria Drug DUI Attorney
A DUI conviction carries significant penalties and can cause you long-term consequences. Therefore, if you are facing a drug-related DUI charge, you should obtain the services of an attorney as soon as possible. An Alexandria drug DUI lawyer could advocate for you and help build a strong defense. Call today and schedule a consultation.