Columbia DUI Drug Lawyer
Generally, drug DUIs and alcohol DUIs are handled similarly in Columbia. In both instances, the officer will testify as to why the motorist was initially stopped, the tests that were performed, and the clues of impairment that were observed. However, the type of chemical test given varies. In alcohol DUI cases, breathalyzer test results will be used, however, in drug DUI cases, usually blood sample results or urine tests will be used.
With regards to a drug DUI, it is difficult to measure a motorist’s level of impairment at the time of the stop. It is relatively easy to determine whether a motorist is under the influence of alcohol because the alcohol travels through the body rapidly, therefore, breathalyzers are viewed as being fairly accurate. As such, in a DUI conviction after a criminal trial, a guilty plea is more likely if the motorist is under the influence of alcohol and officers followed the proper procedures during the traffic stop. With this in mind, it is imperative those accused of a DUID consult with a Columbia DUI drug lawyer as soon as possible.
Proving a Drug DUI
Some components of drugs may be detectable in a motorist’s urine or bloodstream for up to four or five weeks after consumption. Accordingly, officers are unable to conclusively determine whether a motorist was under the influence of drugs at a specific period of time. For this reason, a select number of officers, called Drug Recognition Experts (DREs), are specially trained to determine drug impairment in motorists. DREs will carefully observe a motorist’s eye movements and behavior for clues to indicate drug impairment.
Additionally, the presence of drug components is usually measured through blood samples or a urine analysis. Generally, in a drug DUI case in Columbia, the DRE, law enforcement, and test result statements are used to prove that the motorist is under the influence of a drug that caused the motorist to become impaired while he or she was driving. Meanwhile, a Columbia DUI drug attorney will try to use any mistakes in the process to build a defense.
In Maryland, it is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana. Because there is no way to measure the exact amount of marijuana in the bloodstream at the time of the stop and there is no clear determination of what amount of the drug qualifies a motorist as being impaired, it is the discretion of the officer as to whether or not the motorist should be charged.
Any amount of marijuana in an individual’s blood or urine while driving will establish that he or she was under the influence while driving and will lead to a marijuana DUI charge. In Columbia, MD, a prosecutor will not need to prove that the defendant’s senses were impaired, given that the state has a per se DUI law. This means that any amount of marijuana will establish that a motorist was under the influence. As such, the officer is not required to administer field sobriety tests or testify regarding the individual’s driving or behavior.
The possession of fewer than ten grams of marijuana is now a civil charge. Because of this, possession of marijuana will not affect the DUI case or add an additional criminal charge. An experienced Columbia DUI drug attorney can help provide the best defense when charged with such an offense.
Mixture of Substances
In Maryland, an individual can be charged with a DUI for mixing drugs and alcohol. Although having one dose of a prescription drug or one drink alone may not lead to a motorist being impaired while driving, taking the two together may have a serious impact on the motorist’s ability to maneuver his or her vehicle. However, having both alcohol and drugs in the system does not necessarily make the penalties more severe. Penalties become more severe when a motorist is also charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance, such as heroin.
There may be an instance when an individual consumes a prescription drug, without remembering at what time it was taken, and then inadvertently consumed alcohol, not realizing the negative interaction that may occur. Although the fact that a motorist had no knowledge of the effects of mixing drugs and alcohol is not a defense, usually in these types of situations, the person’s unexpected reaction to the mixture of drugs can be used as mitigation when negotiating with the prosecutor to gain a more favorable result. An experienced Columbia DUI drug attorney may be able to show the prosecutor that the individual was not impaired once he or she entered the vehicle, but that the reaction developed suddenly while on the road.
A motorist who is arrested in Columbia, MD for driving under the influence of drugs will be charged with a DUI and subjected to DUI penalties. For a first-offender DUI conviction for marijuana, a motorist may face a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to one year in jail. Additionally, the driver may face a license suspension up to 45 days and require participation in a drug and alcohol education or treatment program. A DUI drug attorney in Columbia can aid in lessening any potential penalties an individual may face.
Benefits of an Attorney
Some of the most common strategies used in DUI cases include arguing against the legality of the initial traffic stop and inaccuracy in the administration of a field sobriety test, breathalyzer test, blood test, and/or urinalysis.
It is important to have an experienced Columbia DUI drug lawyer because these cases are typically successful when a lawyer has knowledge of the deficiencies that occur when a Drug Recognition Expert is used, based on their observations and opinion. An experienced DUI drug lawyer in Columbia is also familiar with the ways to challenge the drug testing methods used, and has an understanding of the medical and scientific issues that are present in DUI prescription drug cases.