When people hear the term DUI, they think of driving while drunk charges, but people can also be charged with driving while under the influence of drugs. Typically, marijuana and prescription medication for anxiety or depression and other illegal substances are commonly implicated in drug DUI cases. The consequences for driving while on drugs can be just as serious, if not more serious, than the consequences for an alcohol-based DUI. If you have been charged with driving while under the influence of drugs, contact an Atlanta DUI drug lawyer. A qualified DUI attorney can build a solid defense for you. En Español.

How Can a Person Be Charged With DUI for Drug-Related Impairment?

Any substance that impairs a person’s ability to drive, or becomes less safe, can be used against them to determine DUI. For example, just because a person is lawfully prescribed a drug, does not mean that person can take a drug that might impair their ability to drive, they will be prosecuted for that DUI regardless. They should not take drugs to the point that it impairs them and they should read the labels on their drug bottles. If it indicates they should not combine with alcohol, then their response is not to combine it with alcohol.

In addition, there are certain drugs that are per se illegal. For example, if cocaine is in a person’s system, that person can be prosecuted whether it impaired them or not. In addition to simply being less safe, or impaired, or incapable of driving safely as a result of using a substance, if a person is using certain drugs, e.g., heroin or cocaine, for example, and that is found in their system, they are per se automatically DUI.

Differences Between DUI Penalties and Drug DUI Penalties

In Georgia, if a person gets convicted of a drug DUI, they will lose their driver’s license for six months without a work permit, whereas with an alcohol-related DUI, they could be eligible to get a work permit. Georgia punishes drug DUIs more harshly than they do alcohol. Furthermore, even though marijuana is illegal in Georgia, the state needs to prove that marijuana impaired a person, not simply that the person had marijuana in their system. Involuntary intoxication is not a valid defense for a drug DUI, unless, an Atlanta DUI drug lawyer can show they were unknowingly drugged by somebody else.

Methods Police Use to Test For Drugs

In order to test for a drug DUI, a police officer might conduct a field sobriety test, arrest the individual, and then conduct a blood test. A blood test will determine what is in a person’s system, how much is in a person’s system, and once they can quantify how much a person has in their system.

Blood tests pick up on both legal drugs (like medication), and illegal substances, depending on what law enforcement tests for.

Law enforcement may also bring in somebody from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation(GBI), Division of Forensic Sciences, who can testify as to how that would affect the person. It typically takes about two months to receive the results of this exam.

Potential Issues With Blood Tests

The blood test is pretty accurate when it comes to determining the amount of drugs within somebody’s body. However, that does not mean testing errors are not possible. It depends on how the machine was calibrated and the sensitivity of the machine. But, for the most part, the testing for a substance in somebody’s body is fairly accurate. All testing is voluntary but refusing a test has consequences. A refusal of a test can lead to a suspension of a person’s license for 12 months with no work permit. An Atlanta DUI drug attorney can attempt to contest the suspension of a person’s license.

Importance of Contacting a Drug DUI Lawyer

Working with an Atlanta drug DUI attorney can be instrumental in your drug DUI case. For example, most attorneys are fearful when they encounter a drug recognition expert. An experienced Atlanta DUI drug lawyer, however, knows how to cross-examine a drug recognition expert. A skilled legal advocate can devote the time and resources needed to build your case. If you have been charged with driving while under the influence of drugs, consult a lawyer.