Virginia's Program to Combat Drug-related DUI, 1988-1989

Report No: 92-R9

Published in 1992

About the report:

Beginning on April 1, 1988, a revision to Virginia law gave police officers the authority to require an individual suspected of driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs to submit a blood sample to be tested for drug content. Concurrent with the implementation of the revised law, Virginia initiated a pilot Drug Recognition Technician (DRT) Program, which concentrates on training police officers to detect the signs of impairment consistent with seven broad categories of drugs. This study is an evaluation of the impact of the revised law and the DRT program on arrests and convictions for drug-related DUI in 1988 and 1989. The researcher concludes that both the revised law and the DRT program have been effective in increasing the number of arrests and convictions for drug related DUI. However, even when drugs were detected in a suspect's blood sample, generally less than 70% of the cases resulted in a DUI conviction. When neither drugs nor alcohol was detected in the blood sample, less than 25% of the cases resulted in a DUl conviction. The researcher recommends that possible legislative changes be studied to determine if there are ways to increase the probability of conviction in cases of drug-related DUI.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.

Authors

Other Authors

Jack D. Jernigan

Last updated: December 25, 2023

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