While many instances of driving under the influence (DUI) involve alcohol, in Virginia, drivers can be charged with Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID) if they operate a motor vehicle with a specified amount of drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol in their system. If you have been arrested for DUID in Virginia, contact the defense attorneys at S.L. England, PLLC.
Signs of Intoxication
Each drug has a different effect on your brain. A driver who has used methamphetamine or cocaine may be more prone to reckless or aggressive driving, while marijuana slows reaction times and impairs the driver's ability to judge distances. Benzodiazepines can make a driver dizzy or drowsy. These effects may be enhanced if the driver also consumed alcohol.
Even small amounts of some drugs can affect a driver's ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. Signs of intoxication include failing to turn headlights on at night; making wide turns; erratic braking; slow response to traffic signals; or driving with their face close to the windshield.
Virginia law is clear that it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of any intoxicating substance that impairs the ability to drive safely. Because drugs cannot be detected with a breath test, if a law enforcement officer suspects that you are driving while under the influence of drugs, the officer may take your blood with or without your consent.
To be charged with DUID, the threshold amounts per liter of blood are:
- 0.02 milligrams of cocaine
- 0.1 milligrams of methamphetamine
- 0.01 milligrams of phencyclidine (PCP)
- 0.1 milligrams of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)
You can also be charged with DUID if a prescription or over-the-counter medication impairs your ability to drive safely. Virginia does not set a threshold amount for these drugs, so you can be charged with any amount in your blood. If you do not have a valid prescription, you may face additional criminal charges.
The penalties for DUID are the same as they are for DUI.
A first offense is a Class 1 Misdemeanor with up to one year in jail and fines up to $2,500.
A second offense within 10 years is also a Class 1 Misdemeanor with up to one year in jail and fines up to $2,500, but this charge has a mandatory minimum fine of $500.
A third offense within 10 years in a Class 6 Felony with up to five years in prison and fines up to $2,500.
A fourth or subsequent offense within 10 years is also a Class 6 Felony with up to five years in prison and fines up to $2,500, but includes a mandatory minimum of one year incarceration and $1,000 fine.
Contact an Experienced Virginia DUID Attorney
If you have been charged with DUID in Virginia or Washington, D.C., contact an experienced defense attorney at S.L. England, PLLC. We can challenge the basis for the traffic stop, the chain of custody for your blood sample, or the test results. Our attorneys will build an aggressive defense for you. Call us today at (202) 572-1020 or contact us online.