Colonial Heights DUI Drug Cases

Colonial Heights DUI drug cases can have serious consequences for those who have been charged. A drug DUI could result in the suspension of your driving privileges, expensive fines, and in some cases, incarceration. With so much at stake, it is vital that you seek the services of a determined DUI drug lawyer. An experienced attorney could examine the facts of your case and craft a solid defense for you.

What is the Difference Between Operating a Vehicle and Driving?

One thing that prosecutors must prove in Colonial Heights DUI drug cases is that the charged individual was operating the vehicle. The law states that somebody has to be operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs,  alcohol, or marijuana, or whatever the case may be. Operating is not driving. A person does not have to be physically driving a vehicle for them to be charged with a DUI. The laws have gone so far as to define operation as simply sitting in a vehicle with the keys in the ignition. In certain situations. If someone is sitting in a vehicle while the keys are in the ignition, then, by law, they could be considered operating the car as opposed to if they are physically on the highway or on the road literally driving a car and moving down the street.

Ways Officers Gauge Intoxication

As marijuana is decriminalized and legalized across the United States, there have been changes to how law enforcement determines sobriety. The biggest change is, now that instead of immediately administering field sobriety tests, if someone does not smell of alcohol and is acting oddly, the police might give a breathalyzer test in order to figure out if the person is under the influence of alcohol or not. If not, they might ask the individual if they are on any prescription medications and try to search their car, in order to see whether the person has drugs or drug paraphernalia on them.

The Difference Between Drug and Alcohol-Based DUIs

Arrests for alcohol and drug-based DUIs are similar in that they are both a Class 1 misdemeanor and could carry up to 12 months in jail and a fine of $2,500 on a first offense. On second and third offenses, the penalties are still the same. The way that changes is with an alcohol-based arrest as opposed to a drug-based arrest. With drugs, the only thing that can elevate the level of the DUI or the punishment involved in a DUI is going to be the amount of DUIs a person has.

If a person has one DUI on a first-offense DUI, the penalty can be 12 months in jail and $2,500 fine with no mandatory minimum fee and a one-year loss of license, et cetera. On a second arrest within five years, there is a 10-day mandatory minimum just based on the arrest, a three-year loss of license, and an individual can get a restricted license for four months. On a third within five years, they are looking at a felony offense. That comes with alcohol and with drug-based DUIs. However, once alcohol is added into the fray, depending on what the BAC level is, the higher the penalties can be. Certain BACs can lead to mandatory minimum time that would not exist otherwise on a DUI.

Common Defense Strategies for Drug DUIs in Colonial Heights

Whenever someone is dealing with any kind of a DUI, they want to challenge the officer at every step they can. An attorney could challenge the initial traffic stop. Was the stop valid if there was a stop? Lawyers could also challenge whether the defendant was operating the vehicle or not. An attorney could challenge the probable cause of the officer to make an arrest and challenge the reasonable suspicion of an officer to believe this individual is intoxicated.

During Colonial Heights DUI drug cases, attorneys can also challenge existing evidence like blood tests. Lawyers could get a second opinion from an independent source if they so choose. A capable attorney could work diligently to pursue a positive outcome for the person charged.