When most people think about a charge of driving under the influence (DUI) in the Commonwealth of Virginia, they tend to think about driving drunk (i.e. under the influence of alcohol). However, a person can be convicted of driving under the influence of drugs, including the illegal drug cocaine.
What is Cocaine?
Cocaine is a very addictive drug made from the leaves of the coca plant, which is native to the South American continent. It is illegal to use cocaine recreationally in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is federally classified as a Schedule II drug and can cause significant impairment of a person's ability to drive.
What does cocaine look like?
Cocaine typically looks like a fine, white crystal power. It is often mixed, or "cut," with:
- talcum powder
- creatine powder, or
- other ingredients
to increase the amount of the "drug" that can be sold. It may also be mixed with other drugs, commonly:
- amphetamines, and
What are the effects of cocaine use?
The use of cocaine can have significant effects on a user's mind and body. Health effects of cocaine use include:
- dilated pupils
- constricted blood vessels
- raised body temperature
- higher blood pressure
- fast or irregular heartbeat
- tremors, and
More seriously are the effects that cocaine use may have on a person's ability to drive safely (and legally), which include:
- aggressive behavior;
- twitching or inability to control fine motor skills;
- easily distracted or ill at ease while driving;
- possibility of "passing out;"
- hypersensitivity to light, sounds, and touch; or
- paranoia or extreme distrust of others or situations.
As a result of these effects, a person's ability to drive can be greatly impacted. When a person is under the influence of cocaine, a traffic stop could result in a DUI arrest.
Are there defenses to a cocaine DUI arrest in Virginia?
There are ways to defend your Virginia DUI case, even if that DUI arrest was the result of cocaine use. Two common defense strategies include challenging the result of field sobriety tests or using motions to suppress evidence. These two strategies are discussed below, but they are not the only means to defending your cocaine DUI charge in Charlottesville or elsewhere in Virginia.
Challenging Field Sobriety Test Results
Drug use cannot be detected with the roadside breathalyzer, so law enforcement officers commonly use field sobriety tests in order to determine if a driver is intoxicated by drugs, like cocaine. These tests are incredibly flawed, catching people who are not actually intoxicated.
Motioning the Court to Suppress Evidence
If evidence was improperly obtained by the police, whether by an improper search or an improper initial traffic stop, the evidence found as a result can be kept out of court. When this happens, your charges could be reduced or even dismissed for lack of evidence against you.
Consult an Experienced DUI Attorney
A DUI charge can carry serious consequences, especially if you used cocaine. If charged with DUI, you have options to fight your charges. To protect your constitutional rights, you need Virginia DUI attorney Bryan J. Jones to defend your case. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation to discuss your case.