DUI Drug Enforcement in Manassas
Although less common than DUIs involving alcohol, Manassas drug DUIs are treated very seriously and often involve penalties such as fines and jail time. Below, a Manassas DUI lawyer discusses how these charges are treated and enforced locally and what police look for before charging someone with a DUID.
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Commonality of DUID Charges in Manassas
Drug DUI charges are generally not very common and a vast majority of cases involve alcohol. With that said, however, they do happen and can carry some severe penalties when they do.
As far as convictions go it depends on the kind of evidence they have. For a drug DUI conviction, it’s required that the government has a blood test. In cases where there are blood tests, there’s always room for defenses because the protocol required for the government to proceed in blood DUI cases is much more challenging. There are more hoops to jump through in order to get the procedures right. A drug DUI presents the defense with many opportunities to try to attack the government’s case.
Circumstances That May Lead an Individual To Be Charged With Drug DUI
If a person is pulled over for some kind of erratic driving or even just a speeding charge and they appear to be impaired based on the officer’s training, they’ll go through the normal field sobriety testing process. If the officer determines the driver may be impaired based on the field tests, they almost always offer what’s called a preliminary breath test.
The preliminary breath test tests for alcohol. If a person tests negative for the presence of alcohol, and if the officer does not detect the odor of alcohol about that person, then they might forego a breath test down at the jail and engage in the DUI drug testing protocol, which essentially means you’re going to go straight for the blood test.
Differences Between Drug DUI Stops and Standard DUI Stops
The DUI drug stop is very similar to a regular DUI stop because they will go through all of the standardized field sobriety tests and perhaps some non-standardized field sobriety tests as well. The goal is to determine whether or not the person is in fact impaired as the officer originally suspects.
Once they get through the testing process to determine impairment, then it will shift to determining the nature or cause of the impairment. That’s where it gets different from a so-called standard DUI that just involves the suspicion of alcohol consumption.
How Police Officers Look For Evidence of Drug Use
Officers are trained to detect impairment and impairment can come in many forms whether it is based on alcohol or drug consumption. In Manassas, the officers are trained to look for impairments that come from any source, whether it is alcohol or drugs. Factors such as: a person’s eyes being dilated, their speech is slurred, their eyes are glassy or bloodshot, or whether the individual appears incoherent; are all considered by the officer when he determines whether or not he thinks the driver is under the influence of drugs. When an individual is under the influence of alcohol, there will be an odor of alcohol. They will do standardized field sobriety testing in all DUI cases because those are intended to show signs of impairment regardless of the source of that impairment.
However, if the officer determines that the person is impaired but he does not detect the odor of alcohol, then it’s very likely that the person will be charged with driving while under the influence of drugs. From there, an officer will likely place the individual that has been pulled over under arrest and take him or her to the police station. The individual will then have blood drawn to have a blood test done to determine whether or not he or she is under the influence of drugs.
Priority of Drug DUI Cases For Manassas Law Enforcement
DUI cases generally are a big priority for law enforcement officers here in Manassas. DUIs generally are considered a major source of investigation and a source of focus for the government.
Possibility of Allergy Medications Triggering Drug DUI
Allergy medications are usually not going to trigger a drug DUI. However, one thing that does happen is called the Ambien DUI. People who have been prescribed Ambien and are caught driving after they’ve ingested or alleged to have ingested it. Those are cases where the person absolutely can be charged, even if it’s a legal and prescribed drug that they’re accused to be under the influence of. Most of the discussions concerning drunk driving focus on alcohol consumption.
Common Illegal Substances That Trigger Drug DUI Cases
The most common would be the sort of standard drugs that you see. Mostly we see marijuana being charged. But in some cases there are pills involved whether it’s legal or illegal pills.
Differences Between Marijuana-Related Cases and Other Drug DUIs
Being under the influence of any drug is treated equally – whether it’s marijuana, something illegal, or something harsher than marijuana. As for how it’s prosecuted differently, the key way is that there no threshold limits to the instance of marijuana in one’s system. They test for marijuana by testing for active THC levels.
It’s different from a DUI in the sense that everybody knows an alcohol based DUI has a legal definition – in the statute it’s 0.08. If you’re 0.08 or higher, you’re considered to be driving while intoxicated.
Marijuana cases are approached differently in the sense that there’s not a per se level that will automatically result in a conviction for marijuana. The state might present evidence from an expert that might equate a certain level of active THC in your blood to impairment, but that doesn’t exist in the statute. There are presumptive levels in the DUI statute itself or other drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine, but there is no such thing for marijuana.