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Building a Montgomery County Drug DUI Defense

Just as someone may be arrested and charged with a DUI for drinking and driving, they may also be charged with operating a vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance or prescribed medication.

Building a Montgomery County drug DUI defense often necessitates taking advantage of specific errors on the part of police officers or gaps in the state’s evidence. An experienced drug DUI lawyer could work to identify the best places to poke holes in the prosecution’s case.

Involuntary Intoxication

Involuntary intoxication is usually not a defense for a DUI. DUIs are considered general intent crimes, not specific intent crimes. That means when someone is under the influence or impaired by alcohol or drugs and gets behind the wheel of a car, that is a criminal act. The fact that the person is not aware that they were impaired or under the influence does not change the criminal nature of their decision.

When someone takes medication, it is important that they heed warnings and are aware of all the consequences. Perhaps they should not drive a vehicle until they know how their body reacts to a medication or other substances. No matter what, they are held personally liable for their behavior when they are behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, even if they have become intoxicated by a prescribed medication that they did not realize would affect their driving ability.

Consequences of Combining Drugs and Alcohol

If someone is unsure how their body might react to two substances mixed together, they should be careful not to drive a vehicle until they know the answer to that question. Warning labels on medications may tell someone not to consume alcohol when taking a specific medication or substance.

Each person taking a substance such as alcohol or drugs that might affect them has a responsibility to control their behavior. Not understanding how a drug may react with alcohol does not constitute a solid ground for building a Montgomery County drug DUI defense.

Testing for the Presence of Drugs in Montgomery County

Authorities can test for the presence of drugs in many ways. One is by a urinalysis screening. Other methods include testing a person’s blood or taking a sample of a person’s hair for analysis.

One of the most common ways for testing someone suspected of driving under the influence or impaired by a controlled dangerous substance is having a drug recognition expert (DRE) give specific tests, similar to field sobriety tests. indicate they are under the influence or impaired by a controlled dangerous substance.

These tests are controversial; many studies show that the tests are unreliable. Although experts are often called by the government, there are equal numbers of experts that can be brought from the defense’s side who are prepared to argue that the tests do not conclusively represent a person is under the influence or impaired by controlled dangerous substances.

Refusing a Drug Test

Individuals are permitted to refuse any test in Montgomery County or in the State of Maryland. There is no law in Maryland that requires a person to submit to a test. Someone could, however, face administrative sanctions for refusing to take a breathalyzer test or give a blood alcohol sample. Administrative sanctions are not considered separate criminal penalties, but they that may nonetheless result in an individual losing a privilege to drive for a specific amount of time.

Montgomery County authorities have many ways, aside from tests, to prove a driver is impaired. They might try to bring circumstantial evidence, such as the testimony of the defendant driving erratically. They may point to something found in the vehicle like a controlled substance or alcohol. In some cases, a police officer may testify that the person had an odor on their breath that was indicative of the smell of alcohol or a controlled dangerous substance.

How a Lawyer Could Help Build a Defense

Contacting experienced drug DUI lawyers is important, especially because Montgomery County has some of the most well-trained criminal prosecutors and police officers in the region.

Police officers make few mistakes, but they do occasionally commit errors that could allow a lawyer to build a defense in a Montgomery County drug DUI case. A defendant should work with a drug DUI lawyer who has knowledge of the officers, prosecutors, and judges and could ensure their client has the best defense available.