A Pennsylvania driver is currently facing charges for a drug DUI. His neighbor had pulled him out of a burning car early in the morning. Police were called and they found the driver in an abandoned building. He did not know where he was or what had happened.
Driving under the influence of drugs is a serious criminal offense in Pennsylvania. The crime is known as a drug DUI and it is prosecuted the same way as when a person is driving under the influence of alcohol. The penalties are also very harsh, just as they are in other DUI cases.
What is a Drug DUI?
Driving under the influence of drugs sounds like a fairly straightforward offense, but there is more to it than many people think. Any driver found with any amount of a controlled substance in their system will be charged with a drug DUI. Driving with any metabolite of a controlled substance is also against the law and will result in a drug DUI charge. Additionally, any time someone has drugs in their system and they cannot operate their vehicle in a safe manner, they can also face DUI charges.
Police Officers Can Test for Drugs
Breath tests cannot detect the presence of drugs in a person’s system the same way they can with alcohol. However, police officers can use other testing methods to detect if a person has drugs in their system.
The first testing method law enforcement may use is to ask a driver to submit to field sobriety tests. These include the walk and turn test, the one-leg stand test, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. You are not required under the law to submit to these tests, regardless of what the officer says at the scene, and you will not face any penalties for refusing.
Regardless of whether you submit to field sobriety tests or not, law enforcement will likely also ask you to take a chemical test, which can include a blood or urine test. These tests will detect the presence of drugs in your system, and under Pennsylvania’s implied consent laws, you are required to take them if you are asked. If you refuse a chemical test, you will lose your driver’s license for a certain period of time, depending on whether you have refused a chemical test before.
Lastly, the police officer at the scene may call a Drug Recognition Evaluator. These individuals are police officers who have taken special training that helps them identify the signs of drug use and intoxication.
Our Criminal Defense Lawyer in Allentown Can Defend Your Case
Drug DUI charges are very serious, but being charged does not automatically mean you will be convicted. At van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin, our Allentown criminal defense lawyer can prepare the solid defense you need to give you the best chance of beating the charges. Call us today at (215) 977-4627 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation and to learn more about how we can help.