Drug DUI

Birmingham Criminal Defense Lawyer Aggressively Representing Clients Facing Repeat DUI Offenses

Alabama police, prosecutors and judges take a hardline stance against DUIs, especially in drug DUI cases. Under state law, it doesn’t matter if you were driving under the influence of illegal narcotics, prescription drugs, or even over-the-counter substances; it’s against the law to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of any substance that affects your ability to safely drive.

At the Stoves Law Firm, our Birmingham DUI defense attorney has more than 25 years of experience handling all types of DUI cases, including drug DUIs. We have a firm grasp on the best DUI defenses, when they apply, and how to use them to ensure that your case has as little impact on your future as possible.

Alabama Drug DUI Laws

Under Alabama Code § 32-5A-191, there are three ways you might find yourself facing drug DUI charges, including operating a vehicle while,

  1. Under the influence of a controlled substance, such that you were unable to safely operate a vehicle;
  2. Under the combined influence of alcohol and a controlled substance, such that you were unable to safely operate a vehicle; or
  3. Under the influence of ANY substance that impairs your mental or physical ability to safely operate a vehicle.

Thus, it’s illegal in Alabama to operate a vehicle under both controlled and uncontrolled substances (such as prescription or over-the-counter medications). However, the presence of any substance is not enough to find you guilty of DUI; the prosecution must also prove that the substance rendered you unsafe to drive.

How Do Prosecutors Prove Drug DUI Cases?

When officers suspect that you are driving under the influence of drugs, they will typically ask you to submit to a blood test. Unlike alcohol, there is no way to test for the presence of drugs through the breath, so a blood test is a critical piece of evidence for the prosecution. Understanding this, Alabama lawmakers passed an implied consent law, which assumes that anyone driving in Alabama will agree to a blood test when asked by law enforcement.

That said, you don’t need to consent to a blood test. If you refuse, however, you will face a license suspension. Additionally, the prosecution can argue that your refusal is evidence of guilt. However, by refusing a blood test, you also deprive the prosecution of crucial evidence.

In addition to blood test results, prosecutors will also often rely on other evidence, most of which comes from the arresting officer’s own observations, such as:

  • Dangerous or erratic driving,
  • The smell of narcotics,
  • The presence of drugs or drug paraphernalia in the vehicle, or
  • Statements you made to the officer.

Of course, an officer’s testimony isn’t always accurate. Thus, an experienced Birmingham DUI defense lawyer always considers the credibility of the arresting officer when developing a defense strategy, especially in those cases where there are no blood test results.

What Are the Penalties for Driving Under the Influence of Drugs in Alabama?

In terms of the possible penalties, a conviction for driving under the influence of drugs subjects you to the same punishment as an alcohol DUI, which includes:

  • A fine between $600 to $2,100,
  • Up to one year in jail,
  • A 90-day license suspension or the installation of an ignition interlock device for 90 days, and
  • A mandatory drug and alcohol evaluation (and any recommended treatment).

However, you may face increased penalties if any of the following aggravating circumstances are present:

  • You refused chemical testing,
  • There was a child under 14 in the car at the time,
  • Someone other than you was hurt as a result of a DUI accident, or
  • Your blood-alcohol content was .15 or more.

Work with an Experienced Birmingham Drug DUI Lawyer to Ensure Your Rights Are Protected

If you were recently arrested and charged with driving under the influence of drugs, your next move should be to reach out to the Stoves Law Firm. At the Stoves Law Firm, we take an aggressive approach to DUI defense, starting with a thorough investigation into the facts and circumstances of your arrest. From there, we meticulously review the blood test results, if applicable, and work with you to develop a compelling defense. We also provide free consultations to all prospective clients, during which we will answer your questions and explain exactly what we will do to ensure the best result possible. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call the Stoves Law Firm, P.C. at (205) 823-7233, or you can connect with us through our secure online contact form

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