telephone For A Free Consultation Call (301) 761-4842

Bethesda Drug DUI Lawyer

Drug DUI charges are common in Bethesda and becoming more common as more people get charged with driving under the influence of prescription medication. In these cases, even if the individual has a legal right to use the medication, it is still illegal to drive under the influence of these substances, a fact that many people are unaware of.

In order to convict someone of driving while on prescription drugs, or any other type of drug, it is the burden of the state to prove these charges beyond a reasonable doubt. The nature of the offense and the required testing necessary to meet the burden can make a conviction more difficult to secure.

A person may be charged with driving under the influence of drugs if they are behind the wheel of a motor vehicle at the time they are pulled over by a police officer or otherwise lawfully seized and the officer determines that the person is under the influence of drugs. In these cases, a Bethesda DUI drug attorney will best be able to build a defense for anyone facing charges of driving under the influence.

Drug DUI Stops vs. Alcohol DUI Stops

Drug DUI and alcohol DUI stops usually begin the same way. The officer will have a reason to stop the vehicle or approach the vehicle, usually due to a traffic violation.

Past that point, however, a drug DUI differs from an alcohol DUI when the officer observes the driver and determines from a visual inspection of the person and their speech that the person may be under the influence of a drug. The officer might observe bloodshot eyes, lack of focus, and/or  slurred speech, which are common indicators of drug use, or there may be drugs are in plain view or an odor of a drug.

Regardless of the specific indicators, a drug related DUI usually involves calling in a drug recognition expert. The field sobriety tests that are administered in an alcohol related DUI are different than those that are administered for a DUID. A drug recognition expert has more specialized training and administers more specific field sobriety tests to successfully prosecute this kind of case.

Substances That Can Lead to DUID Charges

A person does not have to be under the influence of an illegal drug to be charged with a drug DUI. People that are under the influence of legal drugs are more commonly stopped and arrested for driving under the influence of drugs than people that are under the influence of illegal drugs. If an individual is under the influence of a narcotic, poses a danger, or is impaired by the substance, an officer can criminally charge that person and the person can be prosecuted in court for that offense, thereby warranting contact with a Bethesda DUI Drug attorney.

Over-the-Counter Medications

Being under the influence of over-the-counter medication can still be unlawful. Buying medications over-the-counter is no different than buying alcohol. Although both can be legally purchased, it remains illegal to drive impaired. People are personally responsible for their actions behind the wheel of the car when they are under the influence of those drugs, which means even someone accused of driving while under the influence of a legal substance should consult with a Drug DUI lawyer in Bethesda.

Other Illegal Substances

People can be under the influence of drugs and be potentially arrested for driving under the influence or driving while impaired. Those could be both illegal drugs, like cocaine, heroin, and MDMA or substances that would otherwise be considered legal, like prescription medications, and over-the-counter nighttime cold medication, which might ultimately cause impairment.

Mixing of Drugs and Alcohol

If a police officer has the ability to charge a driver for driving under the influence of alcohol and driving under the influence of drugs, they have two opportunities to prosecute the case. It makes it much easier for the prosecution to move forward and much more difficult for the defense to surmount the facts. The issues of Fourth Amendment suppression are still available in that circumstance, but if the officer has probable cause to charge both the alcohol-related and drug-related offenses, both can be more difficult charges to defend against, without the help of a Bethesda DUI Drug attorney by their side.