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Problems with DUI charges for chemicals other than alcohol

On Behalf of | Dec 23, 2020 | DUI

Most people associate alcohol with a DUI charge in Virginia, but that is not always the case: Individuals who are under prescribed medications or using illegal drugs could be charged with driving under the influence as well. Much of the evidence is typically officer testimony unless a judge orders a blood test search warrant.

Illegal drug defendant prosecutions

Individuals who are susceptible to being charged with driving under the influence are those using illegal drugs. Blood tests can detect exact amounts of any illegal substance, and almost all states have set zero-tolerance standards. Alcohol impairment is assumed with a 0.08 BAC reading, but states like Virginia that have included this type of language in legislation are setting the minimum measurement at 0.10 for some chemicals with a very low measurement of 0.02 for cocaine. Some chemicals with a 0.10 impairment standard include:

  • Methamphetamine
  • MDMA
  • PCP

Legal prescription drug defendants

This category includes many more Virginia residents than those accused of using illegal drugs because individuals who take prescribed sleeping enhancers could have trace amounts in their system at any time. The problem is that field sobriety test studies have shown that many people cannot pass the balance and toe-to-toe walking tests even when sober. In addition, those who are tested are held to a low-tolerance standard for chemicals that can remain latent in the body for extended periods, including medical marijuana patients.

How an attorney may help

Virginia DUI attorneys understand this dilemma for many people who rely on certain medications to function effectively in their daily routines. It means that many people within the state are susceptible to receiving a DUI charge at any time while driving. Someone accused of DUI may want solid representation from an experienced attorney to help them craft a strong defense regarding reasonable doubt of impairment.


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