Virginia DUI Drug Testing
When people think about DUIs, they typically only think of alcohol-induced DUIs. However, driving under the influence of drugs is also illegal. Furthermore, the police can still test individuals for drugs via blood sample. The consequences of a drug DUI are equally as severe as the consequences an alcohol DUI. If you have been charged with DUI drug testing in Virginia, get in touch with a skilled drug DUI lawyer who can advocate for you.
Testing For Drugs After a DUI
If a person is suspected of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs, the authorities are authorized under the Virginia law to take a blood sample. They will get a blood sample one way or the other. Law enforcement can forcibly do Virginia DUI drug testing by using the Virginia Law, called the Virginia Implied Consent Law.
This law essentially says that by operating a motor vehicle on the highways of the Commonwealth that person has impliedly consented to give a sample of that person’s blood to determine the level of intoxicants in it if that person is arrested under the suspicion of driving under the influence of something.
Lately, some jurisdictions have bypassed the Implied Consent Law altogether due to recent Supreme Court decisions and instead they apply for a search warrant to get the blood from a magistrate and once they have that search warrant they will take the blood under that scenario
How Law Enforcement Proves Impairment
The officer who arrested the person will testify in court about their driving behavior, what they observed while they were actually on the road, and what they observed during the course of the traffic stop. For example, if the person has bloodshot eyes, dilated pupils, slurred speech, or any of the things that would tend to make even a layperson recognize that the person is under the influenced of something. All of those factors will be considered and testified about in court. It does go beyond just a simple blood test.
Laws Regarding Refusal of Blood Tests
If a person is arrested for suspicion of DUI, the law says they have impliedly consented to Virginia DUI drug testing. The individual must give a sample of blood to determine the level of intoxicants in it. Any unreasonable refusal to provide that sample is a separate charge called refusal and it carries with it separate and distinct penalties. There is no such thing as a reasonable refusal. If a person says they do not want to take it, for whatever reason, that is considered an unreasonable refusal under the Virginia law.
Biggest Mistakes to Avoid in Drug DUI Cases
The biggest mistake that occurs in Virginia DUI cases is the lack of a vigorous defense. A lot of people assume that just because their blood tested positive for drugs, that they are guilty and have no case. Contrary to what many might think, there are more gray areas in DUI drug cases than there are in DUI cases that involve alcohol.
DUI cases that involve alcohol have a set number, 0.08, and if a person is over it then the court is entitled to presume that they are impaired, that is what the general assembly has instructed the courts to do. However, there is no such standardized threshold in Virginia that is a part of any statute that talks about the levels necessary to automatically be considered impaired.
For example, if a person has been prescribed a certain drug for many years and they are used to its effects and are aware of how they feel and can operate a motor vehicle safely while under the influence of that drug, the person might well be found not guilty as opposed to a person who has never taken anything like that before and had no idea what it would do to them.
There are lots of gray areas in these DUI drug cases and putting forth a vigorous defense that includes both facts and science is the only way to go. If you have been charged with a drug DUI, the best way to mount a vigorous defense is by retaining the services of an experienced DUI attorney. A skilled lawyer will have defended these kinds of cases before and can look at your case and create a corresponding defense strategy.