Proving Impairment in a Charleston Drug DUI Case

To successfully convict a defendant on charges of driving under the influence of drugs, prosecutors must clearly establish that the defendant was knowingly impaired while operating the vehicle. Proving impairment in a Charleston drug DUI case is not always straightforward, especially considering that many drugs can be difficult to identify in a blood or urine test.

If you are facing charges for a drug DUI in the Charleston area, an experienced attorney could work to cast doubt on the prosecutor’s case and maintain your good legal standing. Reach out to a dedicated drug DUI lawyer today.

Testing for Drug Impairment

Drug testing is essential for proving impairment in a Charleston DUI case. Under South Carolina’s Implied Consent statute, law enforcement can test for the presence of drugs by requiring a person who is accused of a DUI to submit to a urinalysis test if the officer suspect’s impairment due to ingestion of medication or narcotics. Police may also order a blood test, but only if they obtain a search warrant from a local magistrate or municipal court judge.

South Carolina law enforcement officers cannot force an individual to subject themselves to a blood test or urine test, but if a driver refuses a urine test, they can have their license suspended. Also, a drug test refusal, under current South Carolina law, can be used against them at trial.

Other Methods to Prove Impairment

To prove that a driver is impaired without administering a test, law enforcement officers and prosecutors may use one’s behavior on video. Specifically, law enforcement may analyze the individual’s performance from a field sobriety test and their bad driving, to make the case that the person was a danger to others on the road and was under the influence of drugs at the time of their arrest.

Police also use a breathalyzer or blood alcohol content in drug DUI cases where someone may be impaired by both medication and alcohol. A blood alcohol content reading of 0.08 or greater (and sometimes even readings of 0.06 and 0.07, depending on the circumstances) may be used as evidence that a person was under the influence and impaired at the time of their arrest.

Call a Charleston Defense Attorney Today

If you are facing a DUI drug charge, it is essential to contact an experienced lawyer who may be able to challenge any assumptions law enforcement or prosecutors might have regarding your behavior on the scene or statements made during the arrest process. Often, both law enforcement and prosecutors deem anything out of the ordinary as evidence of intoxication or impairment.

A seasoned DUI lawyer knows that in certain situations, unusual behavior does not mean that the individual is under the influence.  For instance, there may be an underlying medical issue that is causing the individual to appear impaired. Whatever the circumstances, it is important for an experienced drug DUI lawyer to thoroughly investigate the defendant’s case and subsequently gather all necessary documentation or evidence to support their theory of defense.

An experienced criminal defense attorney could work to prevent the prosecution from proving impairment in a Charleston drug DUI case and garner a preferable resolution to your case. Call today.