Drugged Driving: Proving Intoxication Without a Legal Limit in DUID Cases

Drugged Driving: Proving Intoxication Without a Legal Limit in DUID CasesLegal Standards

 

The courts regularly use BAC test results to prove intoxication in DWI and DUI cases. You could be convicted of DWI if your BAC was at or above the legal threshold for intoxication (.08%). But you can also be convicted of a DWI for drugged driving or driving under the influence of drugs (DUID). BAC tests measure blood alcohol content. So, how does law enforcement test drugged drivers, and how does the prosecution prove drugged driving? As drug use—and abuse—is becoming more common and even mainstream, answering these questions is more important than ever.

Assessing Impairment

You could be charged with driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) if you were driving impaired and had a detectable amount of drugs in your blood system at the time. The amount you consumed is irrelevant. Whether you were impaired by the drug at the time you were driving is the key component here. Blood tests are typically used to establish the presence of drugs in a suspect’s system, although there are no “blanket” drug tests that test for all drugs simultaneously. Rather, the person analyzing the blood sample will perform a battery of tests to check for the presence of certain drugs.

Degree of Error

Blood samples must be drawn in a lab (often a hospital) by trained technicians and the analysis must be run according to the standard used for any type of lab test. In court, a jury is more likely to believe laboratory tests than your testimony. But, what a jury might not know is that even lab tests can present a false narrative. In fact, the rules and procedures for obtaining, storing, preserving and analyzing blood samples in DWI/DUI and DUID cases are incredibly stringent. Any deviation from these ridged standards can result in a tainted, and potentially inadmissible, test result.

The Legal Limit

Currently, there is no standard “legal limit” in DUID cases in Missouri, making them potentially easier to defend. There is no specific point at which impaired driving is implied based on the test result alone. Furthermore, the way our bodies process drugs can vary. It is possible, a good DUID defense attorney could argue, that though a blood test shows evidence of drugs in the defendant’s system, the defendant was, in fact, no longer impaired by the drug at the time he or she was driving. It goes without saying that these cases can also be very complicated because there are many different types of drugs, each with unique characteristics, half-lives and side effects.

If you are facing charges for a DUID, immediately contact a Missouri DWI/DUI defense attorney for assistance. It’s vital you involve an attorney right away to ensure you can obtain the results of your blood test as soon as possible so you can formulate a defense.

No one should face DUID charges alone. If you need trusted legal guidance in Cass County, Kansas City or the surrounding areas, the Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center at the Benjamin Law Firm, LLC can help. The attorneys at the Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center have the skills and experience needed to guide Missouri residents through some of life’s most challenging moments. Trained at the nationally renowned Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers College and mentored under award-winning trial attorney and firm founder Kim Benjamin, you can trust our attorneys will fight with determination to get you the best outcome possible. Call our office at 816-322-8008, email us at info@benjaminlawkc.com or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with one of our fierce legal advocates today.

 

 

 

Top Tips to Protect Your Rights in an Insurance Claim

Top Tips to Protect Your Rights in an Insurance ClaimFighting Big Insurance

Insurance policyholders have certain rights, protected under both state and federal law. Protecting those rights is the key to a fair outcome when filing an insurance claim. But many policyholders don’t thoroughly understand their rights and thus are at risk of having them violated. To protect your rights when filing an insurance claim, keep these top tips in mind.

Know Your Policy

Carefully review your policy, so you know what coverage it provides. Insurance companies must pay out legitimate claims according to the policy limits and exclusions. Understanding those is step one in protecting your policyholder rights.

Don’t Provide a Statement

Speak with an attorney before providing any statement to a claims investigator. You will be contacted shortly after opening your claim and asked to provide a statement. These statements are recorded and are used to investigate your claim. What you may not realize is the claims representative can use your statement to find ways to deny your claim. And once you’ve provided a recorded statement, there is no taking what you said back. Thus, consult with an attorney before you provide a statement, or, ideally, have an attorney with you while you provide it.

Document Everything

Keep thorough records of losses such as medical bills and lost wages. If you have a right to compensation for certain damages, make sure you have ample evidence to back up your claim. Also, hold on to all written correspondence from your claims adjuster. If you speak with adjusters over the phone, take notes and get the name of everyone you talk to. It’s not uncommon for insurance companies to frequently reassign claims adjusters, which means important details can be lost in the transition.

Be Patient

Don’t be tempted to settle your claim early. The claims representative may try to persuade you to do so. In reality, they are not looking out for your best interests. Never settle an insurance claim until you’ve fully healed from your injuries or have worked with both a doctor and an attorney to figure out what your future costs may be. You need to present a complete picture of your damages for fair compensation, which may include future medical expenses. Once you settle, you cannot ask for further compensation.

Protect your rights before it’s too late. For a fair settlement, you should be one step ahead of the insurance company at all times. Working with an experienced Missouri personal injury claim attorney who understands the intricacies of insurance law and regulations can help you do this.

When dealing with insurance companies, it pays to have a legal advocate on your side. If you need trusted legal guidance in Cass County, Kansas City or the surrounding areas, the Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center at the Benjamin Law Firm, LLC can help. The attorneys at Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center have the skills and experience needed to guide Missouri residents through some of life’s most challenging moments. Trained at the nationally renowned Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers College and mentored under award-winning trial attorney and firm founder Kim Benjamin, you can trust our attorneys will fight with determination to get you the best outcome possible. Call our office at 816-322-8008, email us at info@benjaminlawkc.com or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with one of our fierce legal advocates today.

5 Tips for Your First Court Appearance After an Arrest

5 Tips for Your First Court Appearance After an ArrestTypically, your first court appearance after an arrest will be your arraignment. Your arraignment may take place within a day or two if you’re in custody or a few weeks if you’ve been released. No matter the situation, it’s essential to prepare for your first court appearance. If you’ve never been charged with a crime, you might not know how to do so, so our firm has compiled this list of five tips to help you prepare for your day in court.

Know What to Expect

First, learn about the arraignment process. Your time before the judge will be very brief, in some cases only a matter of minutes. But there will be other people waiting for their arraignment in the same room, so you may have to sit in court for much longer. At the arraignment, the judge will read you the formal charges, tell you the minimum and maximum penalty as provided by law (if applicable) and advise you of your right to an attorney. You will also be given a copy of the indictment or information about your charges and asked to enter a plea.

Make a Good Impression

Take care to dress appropriately (business or business casual is best), exhibit proper grooming and articulating clearly so you can confidentially speak to the judge. Arrive early, don’t speak until the judge addresses you and maintain proper etiquette in the courtroom.

Think Before You Plea

You don’t have to plead guilty at your arraignment, and the judge should notify you of this right. If you plead not guilty, you should be informed of your right to a jury trial. Don’t plead guilty unless an attorney has advised you to do so.

Listen and Learn

The judge may arraign many other defendants while you’re waiting for your turn. Listen to what the judge is saying and how the defendants plea. You might be able to pick up some valuable information about the process through observation. The more you know, the better decisions you’ll make.

Speak With an Attorney

It should go without saying it’s best to have an attorney help you navigate the criminal court process. Nevertheless, many defendants forgo legal counsel, which is often a mistake. Try to consult with an experienced Missouri criminal defense attorney beforehand so you can be prepared for court.

Never face criminal charges without aggressive legal representation. If you need trusted legal guidance in Cass County, Kansas City or the surrounding areas, the Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center at the Benjamin Law Firm, LLC can help. The attorneys at Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center have the skills and experience needed to guide Missouri residents through some of life’s most challenging moments. Trained at the nationally renowned Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers College and mentored under award-winning trial attorney and firm founder Kim Benjamin, you can trust our attorneys will fight with determination to get you the best outcome possible. Call our office at 816-322-8008, email us at info@benjaminlawkc.com or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with one of our fierce legal advocates today.