Drug DUI Based on Heroin

Phoenix Attorney for Defendants Charged with Driving Under the Influence

Heroin is an opioid that is made from morphine, which is a natural substance produced from poppy seeds. Other names for heroin include hell dust and smack. People who are using heroin often experience euphoria, nausea, vomiting, itching, impaired mental functioning, and going back and forth between being conscious and partially conscious. It is not safe to drive while on heroin, and if you are caught, you may face a drug DUI charge based on heroin, which may come with harsh consequences. Phoenix drug DUI lawyer James Novak is ready to investigate the circumstances of your case and advocate for you.

Drug DUI Based on Heroin

Under Arizona Revised Statutes section 28-1381, a person who is in actual physical control of a car or another vehicle while under the influence of any drug, a vaporous and toxic substance, or a combination of drugs and alcohol and who is impaired to the slightest degree can be convicted of a drug DUI. If any controlled substance is found on your body, you can be convicted of a drug DUI. Heroin is one drug that can result in a drug DUI charge.

A heroin DUI can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. First offenders who did not get involved in an accident may be charged with a misdemeanor, which has a presumptive sentence of six months in jail and at least $250 in fines. Often, the court will also require you to attend drug education classes. Repeat offenders, however, are likely to face felony charges.

You may also face heroin possession charges, depending on the circumstances. In the course of arresting you for a drug DUI, the police may see heroin in your car, and in that case, you could be charged with possessing, using, administering, acquiring, selling, transporting, or manufacturing narcotics. Heroin possession is a class 4 felony. Possession with intent to sell heroin is a class 2 felony.

You should retain an attorney as soon as possible after being arrested. We can look at all of the aspects of the initial stop, how evidence was gathered, and the arrest. Among the things to consider are whether the officer had a reasonable suspicion to stop you, whether field sobriety tests were properly administered, whether you were given a chemical test, and whether the test was administered correctly.

In some cases, it is possible to raise constitutional or procedural defenses to a drug DUI based on heroin. A police officer is allowed to pull you over and conduct a traffic stop if they have a reasonable suspicion that a crime or traffic violation was committed or is being committed. For example, if a police officer watches you swerving between lanes and speeding, this could give rise to a reasonable suspicion that you are either drunk or on drugs. Usually, an officer will talk to you a little bit and perhaps administer field sobriety tests in order to get the probable cause that is necessary to make an arrest. If you were stopped without a reasonable suspicion or arrested without probable cause, your Fourth Amendment rights were violated, and in that case, it may be possible to get evidence obtained after that violation suppressed.

In some cases, the field sobriety tests administered by the police were not properly handled or interpreted. Some of these tests are not applicable to heroin. For example, while the coordination tests may be indicative of heroin use, the horizontal gaze nystagmus test would not be appropriate. An error in how these are administered could raise a reasonable doubt. In some cases, there are issues of officer credibility. Officers usually have less training and experience detecting a drugged driver than a drunk driver. This is partially because the effects of different drugs are vastly different. While a drunk driver may have alcohol on their breath, there is no odor associated with having used heroin.

Retain a Drug DUI Attorney in the Phoenix Area

A drug DUI is a very serious charge, and sometimes it is only one of several charges brought together. If you are charged with drug DUI based on heroin, you need a tough, aggressive criminal defense attorney. A criminal record can result in a significant social stigma, but an experienced drug crime attorney can leverage the evidence and strategize to pursue a favorable outcome. Contact James Novak at (480) 413-1499 or via our online form. He represents defendants throughout the Phoenix area, including in Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Scottsdale, and other cities in Maricopa County.

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