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DAVID CLARK
Criminal Defense Attorney

Evidence Used in Philadelphia DUI Drug Cases

Although being under the influence of drugs can lead to a DUI just like being under the influence of alcohol would, there are some differences in how evidence for each type of offense is collected. Below, a Philadelphia drug DUI lawyer discusses how law enforcement officers determine whether someone is under the influence of drugs and how the process differs from determining alcohol usage. To learn more about DUID charge consult with an attorney today.

How Do Police Look For Signs Of Drug Use At Traffic Stops?

In Philadelphia, police officers are trained to look for signs that a person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol while operating a motor vehicle. For instance in cases where an officers suspects an individual is under the influence of an illegal drug, an officer will often conduct field sobriety tests. These tests will determine a person’s balance, recollection and the manners in which a person acts which can be consistent with illegal drug use.

Additionally, a Philadelphia police officer can:

  • Smell the contents of a vehicle
  • Smell the clothing of an individual
  • Look for paraphernalia in the vehicle out in the open
  • Or even ask questions of the individual to determine whether the person consumed any illegal substances prior to or while driving

Once those determinations are made, an officer will advise the person to submit to a blood draw or a blood test. Should a person agree to do such, a person would be brought to a local hospital where blood will be drawn by a certified nurse and within months, a person’s blood results will become apparent and it will be decided whether they can be used in the court of law against that person.

Do Officers Use Field Sobriety Testing in DUI Drug Cases?

In Philadelphia, officers use field sobriety tests for both drug related DUIs as well as alcohol related DUIs. In both types of cases, officers use these methods in making a determination of whether a person should be subjected to a blood test and/or a breathalyzer test. It’s the field sobriety test that has balance, recollection, visual elements and a person’s general demeanor that allows an officer to determine whether there’s probable cause to subject that person to a blood draw at a hospital and/or a breathalyzer test at the police administration building here in Philadelphia. It is the field sobriety test and the observations made by the officers which allow them the next step in asking or requesting that a person submit to such blood or alcohol tests.

While field sobriety tests in Philadelphia and/or Pennsylvania are not admissible in and of themselves as evidence at trial the results of such are, the result being whether a person is subjected to such a test and if the test comes back as positive on the breathalyzer side. Meaning above 0.08 or any sign of narcotics or alcohol in the system after a blood test, a person can be prosecuted for driving under the influence in Philadelphia.