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Cocaine & Heroin DUI Attorney in Charlottesville, Virginia

DUI - Cocaine

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 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 powder. It is often mixed, or "cut," with:

  • talcum powder

  • cornstarch

  • flour

  • 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

  • fentanyl.

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

  • restlessness.

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.

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Dui - Heroin

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 heroin.

What Is Heroin?

Heroin is an opioid drug made from morphine. It is a natural substance taken from the seed pod of various opium poppy plants grown throughout:

  • Southeast and Southwest Asia

  • Mexico, and

  • Columbia.

What Does Heroin Look Like?

Heroin can look different depending on how it is made. It can be:

  • a white powder

  • a brown powder, or

  • a black sticky substance known as "black tar heroin."

How Is Heroin Typically Used?

Heroin can be used in many different ways, including but not limited to:

  • injection

  • sniffing

  • snorting, or

  • smoking.

Some people mix heroin with crack cocaine, known as speedballing.

Effects of Heroin

Heroin has very serious effects on the mind and body. It is caused by the attachment of heroin to opioid receptors in the brain. This causes feelings of pleasure, along with many other effects, such as:

  • a rush or surge of euphoria;

  • hallucinations;

  • loss of sensation in the body;

  • clouded mental functioning;

  • itchiness (especially when craving the drug);

  • going back and forth between consciousness and semiconsciousness;

  • collapsed veins (for those who inject the drug);

  • liver and kidney disease; and

  • increased risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV.

Heroin's Effects on Driving

If a person uses heroin and gets behind the wheel, the driver is likely to feel the intoxicating effects in such a way that would greatly affect his or her ability to drive. These effects include:

  • losing consciousness behind the wheel;

  • inability to react, or significantly delayed reaction times;

  • inability to focus; and

  • paranoia or extreme distrust of others or situations.

Defenses To DUI - Heroin or Cocaine

There are ways to defend your Virginia DUI case even if that DUI arrest was the result of heroin or 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 heroin or cocaine DUI charge in Charlottesville or elsewhere in Virginia.

Challenging Field Sobriety Tests

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 heroin. These tests are 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 heroin or 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.