Colonial Heights DUI Drug Testing

Many people think that DUIs are exclusively alcohol-based offenses but that is not true. DUI drug offenses are a punishable offense according to the law. If the driver’s impairment is the result of a drug-alcohol interaction, the statute addresses that. In the DUI statute, 18.2-266, it lists all of the different ways in which someone can be charged with DUI, and one of those actually says “drugs, alcohol, or a combination of intoxicants.” The person is responsible to make the necessary adjustments as to not put everyone else in danger because of the way that they have decided to operate. If you have been charged with a DUI drug offense and want to know more about your rights with regards to Colonial Heights DUI drug testing, consult a knowledgeable DUI drug lawyer that could build your case.

How do Authorities Test for the Presence of Drugs

During Colonial Heights DUI drug testing, the officer is going to ask the person if they have taken anything. That is the best way for them to get the information as to what is going on inside the person’s body. They will then put the person through a series of tests to determine whether they are intoxicated. Even then, it can be difficult for an officer to tell if a person is intoxicated from drug use, so these can be harder cases to prove. If they have obtained probable cause through questions or tests, the officers are going to search the person’s vehicle. They may look for pills inside of the vehicle and/or purses and bags and things of that nature in order to help them prove their case. Then, if an officer has probable cause to arrest a person, under implied consent or through a search warrant they can draw an individual’s blood to determine if they are intoxicated or under one of those substances. The Department of Forensic Science gets involved and may have to come to court and testify regarding the way in which they drew the person’s blood and how their blood was tested.

The Totality of Circumstances Test

Courts in Colonial Heights use a totality of the circumstances test as a part of Colonial Heights DUI drug testing. From the moment that someone has police interaction, whether it is a traffic stop in which the officer alleges that someone was speeding or an accident case in which an officer shows up and responds to an accident, from the moment they show up to the scene to the moment that they arrest the person, they are going to be looking at everything the person does to determine if they were intoxicated for the purposes of DUI. They will look at the way the person talks, how they present themselves, and how they smell.

Some questions the authorities may ask themselves when evaluating whether someone is impaired or not include:

  • Do they smell of alcohol or marijuana
  • Do they have bloodshot eyes?
  • Are they flushed?
  • Are they wobbly on their feet?
  • Can they stand up straight?
  • Does their breath stink?

Field Sobriety Tests

When conducting Colonial Heights DUI drug testing, the authorities may also ask the person whether they have been drinking, smoking, or ingesting any other illegal substances. They will continue, as they are putting the person through field sobriety tests, to make these observations about the person. They also may put the person through other tests like the:

  • One-legged stand where they ask a person to stand on one leg and count up to 30-one-thousand
  • Walk-and-turn test where they ask a person to take nine heel-to-toe steps, turn around, and walk back
  • Finger dexterity test where they ask a person to go up and down, touching their fingertips on one hand, counting out loud
  • Alphabet test where they the person to say the alphabet from one random letter to another random letter without singing
  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus test where they look at a person’s vision to determine if they have distinct nystagmus in either of their eyes

They will use all of these tests and observations to provide an overall proof to the judge or jury.

Laws Concerning Blood Test Refusal in Virginia

Refusal of blood tests is a civil penalty on a first offense. There is something in Virginia called implied consent. Implied consent ultimately states that if someone is an individual licensed to drive and they are operating their motor vehicle on the road in Virginia, they consent to having their blood or breath analyzed to determine if they have been driving while intoxicated if an officer can show that there was probable cause to arrest them for DUI. If an officer can prove and can show that they have probable cause to arrest someone for a DUI, then the person has to submit to a blood or breath test. If they do not submit to a blood or breath test after the officer has probable cause to arrest them for DUI, then they can be charged with a refusal. A first-time refusal is a civil penalty that carries no active jail time but does lead to a loss of driving privileges for a year.

The reason why that is so damning and negative is that, with a refusal, if a person loses their driving privileges or their driver’s license due to being convicted of a refusal, then they are not eligible for a restricted license. For 365 days, they will not be able to drive. If they do, then they can be charged with driving under a suspended license and ultimately face additional jail time. If an individual wants to know more about Colonial Heights DUI drug testing, they should speak with an experienced lawyer that could answer their questions.