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
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:
- snorting, or
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;
- 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.
Are There Defenses to a Heroin DUI Arrest in Virginia?
There are ways to defend your Virginia DUI case even if that DUI arrest was the result of heroin 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 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. 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.