t’s common knowledge that the legal blood alcohol limit for driving under the influence is .08 and above. But that’s not the case for drugs, as there are only legal limits for three drug substances other than alcohol: cocaine, PCP, and methamphetamines.

How does self-administration factor into a DUI charge for drugs?

Attorneys at Friedman, Grimes, Meinken & Leischner say a problem that often arises with “D-U-I-D” or “Driving Under the Influence of Drugs”, is that Virginia law requires the drugs to be self-administered for a conviction. For example, take someone who goes to the hospital and is given an IV containing oxycontin. They are discharged from the hospital, drive away, and are pulled over by a police officer for driving under the influence of drugs. In this case, the driver can’t be convicted of a D-U-I-D because they did not self-administer the oxycontin, rather the hospital did.

Alternatively, let’s say a doctor at the hospital writes a patient a prescription for oxycontin and they take the prescribed amount, get behind the wheel of a car, and are pulled over. In this situation, they can be convicted of a D-U-I-D because the drugs were self-administered. The fact that the individual took the pills pursuant to the doctor’s orders will not stand as a defense in court.

So what should you do if you are pulled over for a D-U-I-D?

  1. Don’t make any admissions to the police officer who pulls you over (this includes what medication you took, how much, and how frequently you take it). Any statements made could be used against the driver in court by the prosecution.
  2. Do not take any field sobriety tests. Again, doing so could be used against you to prove that you were under the influence of drugs when driving.
  3. Contact an attorney immediately if you are charged with a D-U-I-D. An experienced lawyer can present your side of the story to a judge in court to get you the best outcome possible.

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