Fairfax County Criminal Defense Attorney Defending Those Facing Impaired Driving Charges
Virginia is incredibly tough on all DUI offenses, and it’s no surprise that the courts are especially hard on those charged with a drug DUI. From the moment you are arrested, your license will be suspended; however, that isn’t the end of your worries because, if you are convicted, you’ll face a longer license suspension and possibly even jail time. However, just because you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence of drugs doesn’t mean that you’ll be convicted – far from it. First, the government needs to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. And that’s where the dedicated drug DUI defense attorneys at Robinson Law, PLLC, come in. With our help, you can ensure that your case has as little impact on your future as possible.
What Are Virginia’s Laws For Drug DUIs?
Under Code of Virginia § 18.2-266, it is considered a DUI offense to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of any narcotic drug, combination of drugs, or combination of drugs and alcohol. This law not only prohibits driving under the influence of heroin, cocaine and other “street” drugs but also prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications.
How Does The Government Prove Drug DUI Cases?
There are two ways that the government can prove someone was driving under the influence of drugs. The first is by admitting chemical test results, such as a blood test, indicating that the driver had any amount of a drug in their system. However, Virginia law is unique in that lawmakers set threshold amounts for the major drugs. Thus, you are legally considered “under the influence” if you have the following amounts of a listed drug in your system:
- Cocaine: 0.02 milligram per liter of blood
- Methamphetamine: 0.01 milligram per liter of blood
- PCP: 0.01 milligram per liter of blood
- MDMA: 0.01 milligram per liter of blood
Thus, for these four substances, proof that you had the listed amount is enough to show that you were impaired. For other substances, the government must prove that your driving was affected by the drugs in your system. However, even if the test result suggests you were impaired, the government still needs to prove that you were “operating” a motor vehicle. There may also be ways of challenging the admission of chemical test evidence.
The second way prosecutors can prove a drug DUI case is through circumstantial evidence of impairment. In this way, prosecutors do not necessarily need to have blood test results to prove you guilty, here’s how: the law allows the government to ask the jury to infer that you were intoxicated based on the surrounding circumstances. For example, if you were passed out behind the wheel with a needle in your arm and a half-empty bag of heroin on the floor, the prosecutor would argue that you were under the influence of heroin – even if they didn’t have a blood test to prove it.
What Are The Penalties Of A Drug DUI In Fairfax, Virginia?
Virginia has some of the harshest DUI sentencing laws in the country. If this is your first offense, at the moment you are arrested, the police officer will confiscate your license for seven days. However, if you have a prior DUI, your license will be suspended until trial. Technically, this isn’t a “punishment,” as this suspension is seen as an “administrative suspension.”
If you are convicted of a drug DUI, your license will be suspended for 12 months if it’s your first DUI offense. However, if you have one prior DUI within the past five years, you can face between one month to one year in jail, with 20 days in jail being mandatory.
Are You Facing DUI Charges In Fairfax? Speak With A Lawyer Today.
If you were recently arrested with a Fairfax DUI, reach out to the dedicated criminal defense attorneys at Robinson Law, PLLC. At Robinson Law, PLLC, we have a successful track record of handling these challenging cases. Whether we are arguing that the traffic stop leading up to your arrest was illegal, that the lab failed to follow the rules when processing your blood test results or that your driving wasn’t impacted by whatever was found in your system, we can ensure that you receive the defense you need, deserve and are legally entitled to. To learn more and to schedule a free consultation today, call 703-542-3616. You can also connect with us through our online contact form. We proudly represent clients in Fairfax, Loudoun, Stafford counties and Suffolk, as well as throughout northern Virginia.