Citizens’ Rights in Fairfax County DUI Cases

What Rights Does An Individual Have At a DUI Checkpoint?

DUI checkpoints are very different from DUI stops in Virginia. The police have to establish why they are having the checkpoint and what they are doing with the checkpoint, and they must make sure that they are following the correct procedures.  In a DUI checkpoint, individuals need to be aware of their right to remain silent, to not consent to a search, their rights in terms of submitting to field sobriety tests, and the right to consult with an attorney before speaking to the police. They also need to understand why the police are asking them certain questions and which indicators of intoxication they are trying to identify.

What Constitutional Issues May Be Relevant in DUI Cases?

There is a wide variety of constitutional issues that arise in DUI cases. A very common issue is whether the officer had reasonable, articulable suspicion to stop the driver and probable cause to arrest them. There are also issues regarding implied consent, meaning the implied consent form that is read to the driver after their arrest that says they have to give a breath or blood sample or else they can be charged with refusal. At each stage of the case, the police have to be able to overcome a legal hurdle to show that they had a reason to stop someone, arrest them, and test their breath or blood. There can be constitutional challenges to all three of those aspects of the case.

How Do Officers Test To See If Someone is Driving Under The Influence of Drugs?

If the officer has suspicion that someone is under the influence of drugs as opposed to alcohol, they will typically do a blood test. Often times, the officers will get a warrant to test someone’s blood, take them to the hospital, have blood drawn, and then that blood will be submitted to a laboratory to be tested to see whether that person is under the influence of various drugs including alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, or PCP.

What Must The Prosecution Prove In a Driving Under The Influence of Drugs Case?

The prosecution must prove that someone was affected to the point that it had an impact on their driving ability. There is no set legal standard for the drugs in those types of cases; however, certain amounts of drugs can lead to a presumption that someone was operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Experts are sometimes needed in driving under the influence of drugs cases because they can be more complex than a typical DUI case. Often times there is a mixture of various drugs involved, which is why it is important to consult with an attorney.  An attorney can determine whether it would be helpful to have an expert in the case.

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