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How Can I Defend Against a Drug DUI Arrest?

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Defending against a DUI for drugs is not always easy, as there is no set standard regarding definitive levels of impairment at the time of the stop. Alcohol-related arrests are performed based on the .08 BAC standard that all states use across the nation, but a DUI for chemicals other than alcohol usually becomes an issue of officer testimony and potentially a field sobriety video as corroborating evidence. There is no set amount that indicates impairment. The problems arise when prosecutors request blood samples and urinalysis as a method of indicating presence without a method of determining actual latency and impairment at the time of the arrest. The level of impairment becomes the issue, and it may take an expert DUI criminal defense attorney to defend the case.

Evaluating the Evidence

The prosecutors will try to use any and all evidence the police have gathered during a DUID case. Marijuana cases are a primary example when the state is using a blood or urine test as documentation. Either test can show the presence of THC in the system, but there is as yet no method of determining actual impairment levels. In addition, there are no statues that address latency and impairment, so any amount of THC in the system is “good enough” for a prosecutor. The problem is that this could well be determined unreasonable and arbitrary application of the law.

Establishing Reasonable Doubt

The first step a DUI criminal defense attorney may take is building as much reasonable doubt as possible by cross-examining the arresting officer regarding discrepancies between testimony and the actual video when it is available. Levels of any chemical found in the system can be measured, even though there is no impairment standard codified in law. The lower the level, the lower the reasonable assertion the defendant was impaired. The concept of "reasonable" must be put on a sliding scale for doubt to be enhanced. This can never be accomplished by a novice defendant, and can even be a difficult task for an experienced criminal defense attorney. Other than arguments over the latency level of the chemical in question, including commonly prescribed hydrocodone, the case is then upheld in court merely on the testimony of the arresting or investigating officer.

Never assume the state has a right to a DUI conviction, regardless of the prosecution position. Always call an aggressive board-certified expert DUI defense attorney like Virginia L. Landry, one of only 5 board certified DUI experts in California.