Can I be charged even if I don’t have alcohol or drugs in my system?

On Behalf of | Mar 5, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

If you find yourself facing DUI or possession charges you may be concerned about the possibility of being charged even without having alcohol or illegal drugs in your system. This situation can arise due to several factors, including the type of tests used, the timing of the tests and the evidence presented against you.

DUI charges

In Virginia, driving under the influence is illegal, and the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration is 0.08%. However, you can still be charged with DUI if an officer believes your ability to drive was impaired, regardless of your BAC.

Testing for alcohol and cocaine

Chemical breath tests, commonly used to measure BAC, may not always be accurate due to numerous factors. False positives can occur due to medical conditions, mouthwash, medication or calibration errors. Blood tests, while more accurate, have limitations in detecting alcohol hours after consumption, potentially resulting in false negatives.

Urine tests, used to detect cocaine metabolites, have their limitations. They may show positive results even if cocaine was used days before, and false positives or negatives are possible. Constructive possession charges can arise if you were aware of and had access to the substance, even if not physically on you.

BAC level-based charges?

It is essential to note that being charged with DUI does not solely rely on BAC levels. If your driving ability is impaired, you can still face charges, even with a BAC below 0.08%.

Possession charges

Possession of controlled substances, such as cocaine, is illegal in Virginia. Cocaine possession is a felony carrying severe penalties. Proof of possession can be physical, where the substance is found on your person or property, or constructive, where you had knowledge and control over the substance.

Defenses may include challenging probable cause, asserting constitutional rights violations, disputing test accuracy, providing alternative explanations, proving lack of impairment or demonstrating lack of knowledge or control. Defenses also include suppressing evidence obtained improperly and negotiating with prosecutors to drop or lessen charges.