Drug Tests in DC DUI Cases

If pulled over and accused of driving while under the influence of drugs you will likely be asked to submit to a test. The following is information on these tests in addition to other evidence that can be used to prove you were under the influence while driving. To learn more about these tests and charges, or to discuss your case, call and schedule a free consultation with a DUI drug lawyer in DC today.

Tests Used in DUI Drug Cases

Breathalyzer tests cannot detect the presence of any drug aside from alcohol. So, if a police officer suspects a driver is under the influence of a drug and not of alcohol, they will typically ask the person to submit to a urine test or a blood test.

Urine and blood tests are constantly being tweaked to test for as many possible substances of which the toxicology officer is aware. That includes synthetic drugs like K2. Urine tests are performed and collected by Metropolitan Police Department. They are then sent to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to be tested by a toxicologist employed by the D.C. government. Those test results can sometimes take three months before producing results.

Therefore, if you provide a urine test, it is important to know that waiting for results could delay your case by a few months. Blood tests, however, can only be extracted at a hospital. In the event that the police wanted to extract blood, they are required to take you to a hospital and have a trained professional extract the blood.

Some types of drugs commonly tested for in DUI cases through blood or urine samples are cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamines, PCP, heroin and most kinds of prescription drugs. These urine and blood tests are also more commonly used for testing for certain over-the-counter medications and certain synthetic drugs.

Who Administers These Tests?

The Metropolitan Police Department collects a urine samples and then send them to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to be tested by a toxicologist employed by the D.C. government.

What Will Happen If Police Suspect Someone as Being Under the Influence?

When a police officer arrests a person and suspects that a person may be under the influence of a drug based on their subjective impressions of the person’s actions or any admissions from the suspect that they may have consumed drugs recently, then police officers will typically ask a person to submit to either a urine test or a blood test since those are the tests that can detect for the presence of drugs.

A person always has the ability to decline to submit to those tests unless the suspect has gotten into a traffic accident. If there’s a traffic accident, then DC law says that the person cannot decline to submit to a blood test.

A person should know, however, that if they do decline to submit to a test of urine or blood, then there can be consequences under DC’s implied consent rules. Those consequences can include the inability for the defendant to be eligible for certain negotiated resolutions with the prosecutor. It can also include an increased revocation period of a person’s driver’s license.

Other Evidence of Drug Impairment

If a person declines to submit to blood or urine testing, a prosecutor can still submit other evidence to try and prove a person guilty of driving under the influence of the drug. However, most of the other evidence is much more subjective compared to urine or blood testing. That can include general impressions of the person, the smell of any specific drugs, the presence of any drugs in the vehicle or any admissions by a suspect of recent consumption of drugs.

There is no single piece of evidence that would be necessary or sufficient to prove a person guilty without the presence of a urine sample or a blood sample. But there are combinations of factors and combinations of evidence can be used by a prosecutor to attempt to prove that a person was driving under the influence of a particular drug.

Things to Know About DC DUI Drug Tests

A person should always be aware in a DUI case where they may be investigated for drug impairment that drugs can stay in a person’s urine for several days and sometimes even several weeks beyond the initial consumption of the drug.

That means that you may be driving in your car and feeling completely fine but if you are arrested for a DUI and the police asked you to submit to a urine sample, your urine test could still come out positive for a drug that you had consumed several days before and you’re no longer under the influence of.

The mere presence of the drug in your urine is not necessarily enough to convict you of a DUI since drugs can remain in your system for longer than what the effects of the drug are. But people very often don’t realize that submitting to a urine sample can have the effect of making you face possible mandatory minimum levels of jail time even for a drug that you may not have consumed very recently.