Although DUI charges are most commonly associated with alcohol, people in Philadelphia may also face DUI charges if found to be under the influence of drugs. Below a Philadelphia DUI lawyer discusses DUI drug charges, and what it takes for someone to be charged with a DUID. If you or someone you know has been charged, call and schedule a consultation with an attorney today.
Drug DUI charges are very common in Philadelphia and involve cases where individuals are stopped while operating a motor vehicle and deemed to be under the influence of drugs. If suspected of a DUID, law enforcement will typically administer a field sobriety test at the scene and then a blood or alcohol test at the station. In the case of a blood test, blood is drawn from an individual’s arm and/or leg and that blood is later tested and used to determine whether there are narcotics in their system.
In Pennsylvania, and specifically Philadelphia, any amount of a controlled substance in a person’s system is per se evidence of DUI. Therefore arguing the amount of the controlled substance in a person’s system if it consists of an illegal substance is not an argument that is accepted by the court. For example any amount of marijuana albeit the smallest amount in a person’s system, makes a person incapable of driving an automobile in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
In some ways this may seem very unfair, however the way the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has defined “under the influence of a controlled substance” is any amount of a controlled substance like marijuana, cocaine, PCP, heroin or even a prescription substance could result in a DUI conviction.
In Philadelphia, a person can be charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs if stopped and an officer feels there is reasonable suspicion or probable cause to submit the individual for a blood test. However, under these circumstances the individual has the choice of whether or not to submit to a blood test.
Should an individual agree to take the blood test, the officer will then transport the individual to a local hospital where blood is drawn and later blood is tested to determine whether there’s a controlled substance in the blood stream that renders a person incapable of driving a motor vehicle safely on the roads of Philadelphia.
However, a person can also reject the draw of blood and say no to the officer. However, certain warnings called O’Connell warnings are given to an operator of a motor vehicle that state should the person reject a requested blood alcohol test or breathalyzer, a person’s license will be automatically suspended for a period of one year.
In addition, the government can use evidence of the fact that a person refuse such tests in its prosecution to show per se that a person was under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol at the time of driving and was unable to operate a motor vehicle safely on the roads of Philadelphia.Either way, in all cases, a person should agree to a blood and/or breathalyzer test. There is no benefit whatsoever to turning down such a test.
David Clark Attorney at Law