Difference Between Alcohol and Drug-Related DUI
Drivers facing impaired driving charges may want to know the difference between alcohol and drug-related DUI offenses. Contact Scrofano Law for information.
Alcohol or Drug-related DUI Charges
Driving a vehicle requires you to behave responsibly. Unfortunately, some people misjudge how impaired they are. This situation often occurs when a person takes prescription or over-the-counter medications, alcoholic drinks, or takes illicit drugs. If you are caught driving impaired, you will be charged with DUI.
Laws prohibit driving while impaired by drugs, alcohol, or any substance that impairs one’s mental or physical abilities to operate a motor vehicle safely. Often, drug-related DUI charges are charged as felonies in states with felony penalties for DUIs. These charges can be filed at the state and federal levels.
It is important to understand the law and how it applies to you and your case. To improve the chances of a favorable outcome, consider retaining the services of a dedicated DC DUI lawyer for advice and information.
Difference Between Drug and Alcohol DUI Charges
The biggest difference between DUI weed and alcohol charges is that drug charges have a lower threshold for impairment than alcohol. For example, a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% can cause impairment, while a THC level of 5 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) of marijuana can cause impairment, resulting in a DUI charge.
A reputable law office like Scrofano Law can assess your case and help you develop your DUI defense. Call now for a free consultation.
Who Can Be Charged With a Drug DUI?
Anyone who drives while impaired by illegal drugs or controlled substances, such as prescription drugs, can be charged with a drug-related DUI. The includes marijuana, cocaine, opiates, and medications such as Adderall, Xanax, Ambien, Vicodin, and Clarinex.
In most states, a person can only be charged with a DUI for drugs if they have been caught driving under the influence of those substances. DUI charges, whether alcohol- or drug-related, have long-term consequences.
Drug-related and Alcohol-related DUI charges Compared
Arrests and trials for both charges follow similar processes. However, the investigation procedures for drug use versus alcohol impairment are different. Law enforcement officers conduct field sobriety tests and administer breathalyzer tests for alcohol testing. In contrast, drug DUIs require drug recognition experts or evaluators (DRE).
In contrast to just being certified to administer standardized field sobriety tests, DREs are trained to recognize impairment caused by drugs other than or in addition to alcohol. Since they are looking for evidence of drug use, they search different parts of the car in order to locate evidence, but the basic process is the same.
When a suspect is arrested for drug DUI, a urine sample is required instead of a breath sample. This is because urine tests can detect drugs, while breath tests can only detect alcohol.
What Is a DUI Drug Blood Test?
A DUI drug blood test, also known as a toxicology examination, is a medical test that measures the level of drugs in a person’s blood. The test is conducted after an arrest for driving under the influence of drugs. It can be used to determine if the person was impaired by drugs at the time of driving.
A toxicology examination usually involves several different types of tests, including testing for alcohol, THC, cocaine, methamphetamines, other illegal drugs, prescription medications, and over-the-counter medications.
DUI drug blood tests are often done at the request of the arresting police officer to determine the presence of a drug in a person’s blood. The results may be deemed inadmissible in some instances, for example, if the blood sample has decomposed after being left out too long.
What Are the Repercussions of a DUI for Alcohol?
DUIs involving drugs generally carry the same penalties as DUIs involving alcohol. The repercussions of a DUI can be severe and include:
- A fine
- Jail time
- License suspension
- Community service
- Loss of insurance
- Higher car insurance rates
- Ignition interlock device
If you are charged with drug-related DUIs, a Virginia DUI lawyer may get able to help you get the charges reduced or even dismissed. Contact Scrofano Law for a free consultation.
Defenses for DUI Charges for Prescription Drugs
If you have been charged with driving under the influence of prescription drugs, you may have a limited defense, depending on your specific circumstances. Usually, a driver would need to show that they had a valid prescription, took prescription medications as prescribed and that the medication did not warn against driving while taking it. However, other defenses available for alcohol DUI may be applicable:
arresting officer did not follow proper procedures in initiating or conducting your stop.
no reasonable suspicion to pull you over, it may be possible to get evidence from the stop that showed impairment suppressed.
You were not impaired by the drug when operating your vehicle
Your blood test was negative for the drug
Your criminal defense attorneys from Scrofano Law can assess your alcohol-related DUI or DUI drug cases. Contact us to schedule a free initial consultation.
Fighting Alcohol DUI Charges
The best way to fight a DUI charge is to have an attorney that can argue your case in court. There may be circumstantial evidence or an improperly-obtained urine or blood sample that could be thrown out. The attorney will have the ability to use the facts of your case, as well as the law, to get you out of this situation.
Some things that an attorney may consider when fighting a DUI charge are:
- Did you refuse a breathalyzer test?
- Were you not driving?
- Did you not know how much alcohol was in your system?
- Did you consume any other drugs or medications before driving?
DUI or DWI charges can be handled by a skilled attorney, whether you were impaired by alcohol, drugs, prescription drugs, or nothing at all.
Can an Attorney Help Fight Drug or Alcohol DUI Charges?
An attorney can help you fight your DUI case by filing a motion to suppress evidence, which is a request to have the evidence in your DUI case thrown out. This is done when the police did not follow proper procedures.
You must contact a Maryland DUI Lawyer from Scrofano Law as soon as possible if you are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
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