DUI Drug Cases in Washington, DC
In addition to alcohol, if you are in Washington, DC, you may be charged with DUI if the court can prove you operated a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs. Below, a DC DUI lawyer discusses these types of charges and how law enforcement will go about proving impairment. To learn more about this type of charge, call and schedule a consultation today.
DUI Charges for a Drug Related Impairment
You can be charged with a drug-related DUI in the District of Columbia if law enforcement believes that your driving ability has been impaired, but it does not appear that you are under the influence of alcohol. In these instances you will likely be asked to provide a urine sample.
If you were in an accident, they may seek to have a blood sample taken instead. These blood or urine tests will specifically be used to identify the presence and amount of any kind of drugs in your system.
If you have any kind of drugs in your system, it could result in an impairment of your ability to drive, and you could be prosecuted for a DUI. This can be the case even if you have a legal prescription for the substance in question. The government can still prosecute you because you should not drive while impaired.
Proof in a Drug DUI Case
On the other hand, if it is believed that you are under the influence of an illegal drug, the prosecution can seek to have a mandatory jail sentence imposed, especially if they can prove that
1) You were impaired and
2) That your impairment came from your use of the illegal drug.
Common substances associated with this charge include cocaine, marijuana, PCP, and methamphetamines.
The average officer on the street is not specially trained to recognize if you are under the impairment or influence of drugs. There is an element of common sense to this, but there are officers specifically trained as Drug Recognition Experts.
A Drug Recognition Expert is someone who has been specifically trained to determine if you are under the influence of drugs and the type of drugs you may be impaired by. In some cases, but not all, law enforcement will bring in one of their Drug Recognition Expert officers to do a battery of tests on you to confirm their initial suspicions of impairment. If there is no Drug Recognition Expert available, the officers will almost certainly ask you to provide a blood or urine sample, depending on the circumstances.
The Biggest Mistakes to Avoid in Drug DUI Cases
The biggest mistake that you should avoid in a DUI drug case includes not understanding that you can be charged and convicted for driving under the influence of lawfully prescribed medications.
Oftentimes, defendants will admit to the police officer that they are on pain medications and that they have recently taken those medications thinking that, they will not be arrested and charged with a DUI for taking prescribed drugs. That is just a mistake. You can absolutely be prosecuted exactly the same way for prescription drugs as you can for illegal drugs if they impair your ability to drive.