Are Drug DUI Cases Easier To Defend Than Alcohol Related DUIs?
Drug DUI cases add a level of complexity, and since the law is unsettled about certain determinations of impairment, there is a lot of work that has to be done in order to prepare an adequate defense. For example, the defense may want to consult an expert, or simply cross examine the state’s expert. However, I don’t think that there is a lot of science that shows when a person is impaired to the extent that they are going to rely on the concentration of the chemical in the blood. There are a lot of issues that the defense has to consider, research, and prepare to defend. Keep in mind that in North Carolina, a person can always be convicted if they were impaired by a particular substance- a particular concentration is not required. A lot of this is just not settled, which is why expert opinion is critical in these cases.
Can The Accuracy Of A Blood Test Be Challenged In A Drug DUI Case?
The accuracy of a blood test result- in terms of the significance of the concentration of a drug that was found- can be challenged. It’s really difficult to tell how much of a chemical substance is in the blood. Even if they can determine this, there is always the question of whether the person was impaired by the chemical while driving. There is just not enough scientific evidence to conclude that a particular amount of some substance in a person’s blood impairs their ability to drive. So, that’s where the defense really lies. Now, there are often questions about the protocols and the procedures that they use to acquire the underlying data. But oftentimes the crux of the matter simply comes down to whether or not there is good science to support that a person was impaired at a certain level.
Most states have yet to develop a particular standard. In North Carolina, a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 is the very well-known, publicized standard for alcohol. However, there is not a particular standard for other substances. So, generally speaking, the debate is about the existence or the concentration of a substance in the blood, and whether that concentration is impairing.
How Much Does Someone Have To Rely On Science In Defending A Drug DUI Case?
At a minimum, most of these cases require consulting with an expert and researching scientific journals in order to determine what the impact of the particular concentration would be. Some drugs are not impairing, so there may be a debate about whether or not the particular substance is impairing. There will certainly be a debate about whether or not it is impairing for a particular concentration. So, consulting experts is pretty common in these cases.
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