Maryland Drug DUI Lawyer
Drug DUI charges are very complex charges to resolve. Oftentimes, they involve blood kits and urinalysis testing. In addition, there are the standard kinds of issues that come up in regular DUI cases like Fourth Amendment questions about the stop, the arrest, probable cause to arrest, and the Field Sobriety Test.
When a person is charged with a DUI associated with drugs, the complexities that come with a case of that nature are so significant that having a Maryland DUI lawyer experienced with those kinds of cases is critical to prepare an appropriate defense for your case.
Things to Know About Drug DUIs in Maryland
One of the biggest misconceptions about drug DUIs in Maryland is that when someone is prescribed a drug, it is okay to drive a vehicle under the influence of that drug. If they are under the influence of drugs and those drugs impair their ability to drive, they should not drive. They are responsible for their actions and they should not be driving a car even if those drugs were properly prescribed to them.
Most people can look at the warning labels or side effects listed on their drugs or in the companion paperwork when they receive their prescriptions to understand whether these drugs could potentially affect their ability to drive. If that is a possibility, they should not be driving a vehicle after taking those medications.
It is also important to understand the difference and similarities between driving under the influence of alcohol and under the influence of drugs.
Police Impairment Detection
Officers are trained to detect drug impairment in two different ways. The first is that officers are using their normal skills on a day-to-day basis like looking at somebody’s eyes, slurred speech, or ability to walk as clues of impairment. Often, that impairment is associated with alcohol, drugs, fatigue, medical conditions and any number of other things.
Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) always conduct testing at the police station. A drug recognition expert is usually not involved in the initial stop of a vehicle, nor is a DRE usually called to the scene of the traffic offense. It is after the officer observes enough clues to establish probable cause that he takes an individual to the police station. At the station, the person is subjected to the DRE’s testing to determine whether or not Maryland drug-related DUI charges can be lodged against that individual.
Drug Recognition Experts
When officers go beyond that point of recognizing those clues, they usually call a specially trained officer known as a DRE. This officer is looking for more specific clues in a person’s eyes, in their speech, or in the way they perform on certain specialized drug recognition tests. This helps them make determinations about the person’s level of impairment and about whether or not they are under the influence of drugs, alcohol, something else, or nothing at all.
DRE certification is an extensive training that officers go through on the administration of specialized tests and the observation of certain kinds of clues. Also, DRE experts are trained to detect the odor of various kinds of drugs such as marijuana, something a little less common like the odor of PCP, or other kinds of drugs that create distinct smells for the officer to recognize.
DREs as Expert Witnesses
DRE witnesses are considered expert witnesses by the courts based on their training and experience. Sometimes the problem with DRE experts is that their training is outdated or they are not always following protocol in the administration of their tests. When they are testifying as experts in those circumstances about the results of the testing, they are using a flawed system in their analysis.
It is important that the Maryland drug DUI attorney has experience understanding the tests that an expert gives. Also, the attorney must know about the training on administering the test the DRE received to make sure that the DRE is fully compliant with drug recognition testing and the protocols on how to administer those tests. When the DRE testifies about the results of those tests, the defense attorney knows to ask cross-examination questions about how the tests were administered to try to negate their validity for the courts.
Contacting a Maryland Drug DUI Lawyer
Attorneys should be contacted early in any case, particularly a DUI case that is associated with drugs for a couple of different reasons. The first is that a defense attorney wants to know the individual’s recollection close in time to the event of the tests that were administered to them and how they remember they were administered. Challenges could be lodged appropriately at a point in the future about those tests and how they were administered to them to try and make them invalid in a courtroom.
Additionally, an attorney wants to review the individual’s prior medical history with them to see what issues they might have been facing in their past. Medically speaking, somethings might have affected their ability to perform certain tests. Unforeseen physical reactions to medication can also potentially be used as an involuntary intoxication defense. Having information about the medications prescribed to them at the time they were behind the wheel of a car could also be very helpful in getting their charges dismissed or mitigating them in front of the courts.
Finally, contacting an attorney early could assist the individual in determining what kinds of proactive measures they can take to demonstrate for the court, that nothing like this will happen again. That could include participating in some kind of rehabilitation and alcohol education testing or treatment. Having a report or other information about drug education testing or treatment demonstrates to the judge the kinds of measures the individual has taken towards rehabilitation to make sure this does not happen again.
It never implies guilt to ask to speak to a drug DUI lawyer in Maryland. In fact, finders of fact are usually not permitted to take that particular piece of information into consideration when making determinations about a person’s case.