Is DUI Only For Drinking?

DUI stands for driving under the influence. When most people hear of DUI, they only think of alcohol, but DUI can extend to other types of substances. Here's what you should know and how it will impact your defense.

What is the Definition of a DUI Charge?

There is no one set definition of DUI charge. Each state has its own version of DUI-related laws, and they often each have several different levels and types of DUI and similar offenses. When most people think of DUI, they think of driving under the influence of alcohol with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. There are also usually more serious levels including for being more intoxicated or causing an accident.

The thing to remember is that DUI is just driving under the influence. It isn't necessarily driving under the influence of alcohol except under the specific alcohol-related offenses. You can also be charged for driving under the influence of a controlled substance such as marijuana.

Is There a Breath Test for Other Controlled Substances?

For an alcohol DUI, police use a breathalyzer test in an effort to precisely measure BAC levels. There aren't similar tests for many controlled substances, but there are breathalyzers that can detect being under the influence of marijuana by alerting to THC on the subject's breath.

If you've been charged with a marijuana DUI after failing a marijuana breathalyzer, you have similar defenses to an alcohol DUI. First, you can challenge whether the original traffic stop was legal. Second, you can challenge whether the police performed the test properly. Finally, you can challenge whether the breathalyzer used was properly calibrated. Keep in mind that even if you know you were high, the police still have to prove it. A DUI attorney may be able to get evidence thrown out and beat your charge even if you think you were guilty.

Can the Police Charge You With DUI Without a Breath Test?

Yes, for both alcohol and controlled substances, the police can file DUI charges without a breath test. They would use other evidence such as visual signs of impairment or slurred speech. In some cases, they can also force you to undergo a blood test. These types of charges aren't as clear as charges from a breath test, and there are usually several ways your DUI attorney can help find possible reasonable doubt to try to beat the charge.

To learn more about the different types of DUI charges and how to beat them, contact a local DUI attorney today.