DeKalb County DUI Drug Lawyer

Most people think of DUI as involving alcohol.  Any substance a person puts in their body that can impair their ability to drive a vehicle, however, can lead to that person to be charged with DUI. The penalties associated with a DUI drugs do not differ from those of an alcohol-related DUI. If you have been charged with a drug-related DUI, you should reach out to an accomplished DUI attorney right away. Let a DeKalb County DUI drug lawyer help you build a strong defense.

What is the Difference Between Drug DUI and Alcohol and DUI Cases?

Drug-related DUI cases can be more complicated than alcohol DUIs. Alcohol-related DUIs are more common, and it is much easier for law enforcement to tell if someone is drunk rather than under the influence of a drug.

Another difference between alcohol-related DUIs and drug DUIs is determining what category of drug the individual is under the influence of. In these cases, there are central nervous system depressants, stimulants, prescription drugs, and illegal drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and heroin.

Most police officers are trained to detect alcohol impairment but very few have the additional training for drug recognition. Due to this, these cases are much more difficult for the government to prove unless there is significant evidence to support impairment. The complexity of these cases is why it is crucial for a defendant to obtain a seasoned DUI drug lawyer in DeKalb County.

Prescription Drug vs. Non-Prescription Drug DUI Charges

A person can be charged with drug-related DUI even when it involves legal or prescribed drugs if it impairs that person. If it impairs them, they can get arrested for DUI even if they followed the doctor’s advice. It is critical to understand that it is always illegal to drive while impaired. Many prescription medications contain warning labels that caution that the drug may cause drowsiness that can impact driving ability.

Whether the drug is marijuana, cocaine, or alprazolam (Xanax), an individual cannot legally be impaired and drive a vehicle. There may be a difference in how to prosecute a DUI that is caused by an illegal drug versus a drug that a doctor prescribed to the individual; however, the law does not distinguish between the two in terms of the DUI statute and penalties. For more information, contact a dedicated attorney who is experienced in fighting DUI drug cases.

Involuntary Intoxication in Drug DUI Cases

Involuntary intoxication can be a defense for a drug DUI, but it is not an affirmative defense, meaning that it is not something that can be brought to trial and bar prosecution. An example of involuntary intoxication is when a person is at a bar, someone slips GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate) in their drink and they drive and get charged with DUI.

The other situation is when a doctor prescribes Ambien, the person takes it, and wakes up after a carr accident. DUI is what is referred to as general intent crime, meaning that they do not have to prove that a person had the intention of drinking and driving. They have to prove the intention to drive, but if they cannot formulate that intention because of involuntary intoxication, then they might have a strong defense.

If a driver did not know the drug would impair them, the prosecution can assert that they were still guilty of voluntary intoxication. In a DUI case, the prosecutor does not have to prove that a person had knowledge that it would impair them or not. All they have to prove is a person’s actual and physical control of a moving vehicle under the influence of a drug to the extent they are a less safe driver. This is why defendants must reach out to a skilled DUI drug attorney in DeKalb County.

How is an Arrest and Subsequent Criminal Trial for a Drug DUI Similar to an Alcohol DUI?

An arrest and subsequent criminal trial for a drug DUI is similar to an alcohol DUI. However, the main difference lies in the type of testing conducted to determine whether someone was under the influence of drugs. Some tests make it easy for alcohol to be tested, but drug cases on the other hand, require more pragmatic approaches since drugs can be traced in a person’s body for more than a day.

In addition, if someone is convicted of a drug DUI, there are different license consequences in Georgia. For example, if they are convicted under the DUI drug code section, they may not be eligible for a limited permit to drive on the first DUI, whereas under an alcohol subsection, they would be able to get a permit.

Common Strategies Used in a Legal Defense for Somebody Accused of a Drug DUI

The defense should focus on attacking the type of drug found and the level of that drug in someone’s system. For example, someone could use illegal four days ago and not be under the influence of it, but it would still show in their system. In that capacity, attorneys would attack the lack of evidence that there was recent drug use.  In Georgia, it is illegal to drive with any amount of marijuana in your system, whether you are impaired or not.

If dealing with prescription medication, the attack might be on the level, whether it was a therapeutic level, meaning a small amount prescribed by a doctor that would not have an impairing effect.

There are also issues with tolerance. If someone takes more of a drug, their body may develop a tolerance to that drug over time. What might make one person impaired may be the norm or the baseline for another.

How a DeKalb County DUI Drug Attorney Can Help

Drug DUI cases are very technical, which is why defendants should seek the services of an accomplished criminal attorney. In a drug-related DUI case, there are many pieces at play. If you are facing charges, contact a DeKalb County drug DUI lawyer who could fight for you and help you understand your legal options.

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Hawkins Spizman

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