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DAVID CLARK
Criminal Defense Attorney

Difference Between Drug and Alcohol DUI Charges in Philadelphia

The following is taken from an interview with a Philadelphia DUI drug lawyer as they discuss the differences between alcohol and drug related DUI charges in Philadelphia. If you have already been charged, call today to learn what you should expect and to begin preparing your defense.

Similarities and Differences Between Drug and Alcohol Related DUI Charges

In Philadelphia, both trials for driving under the influence while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol are treated in the same fashion. The only difference between the two is the kind of evidence that is presented which may differ in that under narcotics, a blood draw is taking place and when alcohol is usually used, it is the result of a breathalyzer machine.

All other aspects are the same in regards to the stop. Officers still need reasonable suspicion and probable cause to stop a motorist for suspicion of DUI. Officers also then submit that same individual to field sobriety tests and make observations whether under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. It’s only after those observations are met and that the officer feels a person should be subjected to further testing in the form of a breathalyzer and/or a blood draw.

At trial, it is the responsibility of an experienced Philadelphia DUI attorney to determine what if any tests will be used against their client and what if any defenses can be raised for such tests. Only then can a person’s rights be truly protected and only then can a fair defense be put forth in driving under the influence cases in Philadelphia.

Is It Harder To Prove Drug Impairment Than Alcohol Impairment?

In Philadelphia the burden of proof is always on the government to prove that a person was driving a motor vehicle on the streets of Philadelphia while under the influences of drugs and/or alcohol. In both sets of cases, the Commonwealth will attempt to prove that the person was not driving safely. Quite frankly, whatever is then determined in the breathalyzer and/or blood test is evidence that will make the case against an individual. Therefore whether it be alcohol, narcotics, or an overdose of a prescription that a person had in their system the courts are all determined that DUI applies equally across the board.

Therefore, the Commonwealth through the district attorney’s office will prosecute cases involving any amount of controlled substance in a person’s system and any amount of alcohol above the limit of 0.08. There’s no distinction between the two and when trial appears, the only distinction is the type of test that was given and/or the type of evidence that is admissible to trial. If it’s a blood draw, you’re going to hear from a lab that tested the blood. If it’s a breathalyzer you will hear from the police officer that administered such a test.

Therefore, it’s important to get the advice of an experienced Philadelphia DUI and/or narcotics attorney to decide whether or not you have any defenses to driving under the influence and whether or not any of the tests that you were submitted to were ineffective and/or inaccurate in some way.