In Virginia, Teens Who Drive While Using Drugs Are Subject to a DUID Charge

Driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) in Virginia exposes you to the same criminal penalties as a DUI (otherwise known as driving while drunk). A driver under the age of 21 who is convicted of a Virginia DUID offense faces the suspension or revocation of his license, thousands of dollars in fines, and even potential jail time—which is why it's crucial to hire a Virginia DUID attorney who is familiar with the drug laws of this state.

DUID Is a Common Offense Among Virginia Teens

Given the wide variety of drugs to which juveniles increasingly have access—marijuana, cocaine, PCP, and methamphetamine, or meth, to name just a few—being charged with DUID in Virginia is increasingly common. In most cases, an arrest for DUID in this state will unfold in exactly the same way as an arrest for DUI: You will be pulled over by the police, asked a series of questions, and administered a field sobriety test (counting backward from 100, walking a straight line, etc.) and a preliminary breath test.

Here's where things become a little different, though. If the results of your breathalyzer test are normal (as they will be if you didn't consume any alcohol), a police officer can still book you on suspicion of DUID if there is obvious evidence of intoxication (e.g., slurred speech, difficulty focusing). At the police station, you might be administered a blood test, which is designed to detect the minimal levels of drugs necessary for a DUID charge:

  • 0.02 mg of cocaine per liter of blood
  • 0.1 mg of methamphetamine per liter of blood
  • 0.01 mg of PCP per liter of blood
  • 0.1 mg of ecstasy per liter of blood

Somewhat surprisingly, there is no reliable blood test that detects marijuana use—and since marijuana is the second most popular intoxicant among teens (next to alcohol), you might think that this places the police at a distinct disadvantage. However, you can still be booked for DUID if your behavior points to recent use of marijuana, or, even better from the position of the authorities, if the inside of your car reeks of weed.

A DUID Charge Requires an Experienced Defense Lawyer

The consequences of a Virginia DUID conviction, especially for a juvenile driver, are extremely severe. Over and above the potential fines, jail time, and license suspension, a conviction will be a permanent part of your criminal record, which may make it difficult later in life to find a job or obtain a loan. The criminal defense attorneys at Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman, PC have decades of experience battling teen DUID charges. Call 888-783-9701 for a free consultation.