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Substances that result in DUI charges

On Behalf of | Oct 30, 2023 | Criminal Law |

Driving under the influence is a serious offense in Virginia that can lead to severe legal consequences. While alcohol is often the first substance that comes to mind in DUI cases, state law also prohibits driving under the influence of other substances.

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, several substances can lead to DUI charges.


Alcohol is the substance most commonly associated with DUI charges. In Virginia, a blood alcohol concentration greater than 0.08% (or any percentage for drivers under the age of 21) can result in a DUI charge.


Even with the legalization of recreational marijuana in Virginia, legal limits still exist. Driving under the influence of marijuana is against the law. If a blood or saliva test detects THC in your system, you could face DUI charges.

Prescription drugs

Many people are unaware that prescription drugs can also lead to DUI charges. You can face an arrest if a prescription medication impairs your ability to drive safely. Always follow your doctor’s recommendations regarding driving while taking prescription medications.

Illegal drugs

Virginia law strictly prohibits driving under the influence of illegal drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine or heroin. Even a small amount of these substances in your system can lead to a DUI charge.

Over-the-counter medications

Over-the-counter medications, when misused, can impair your driving ability and lead to a DUI. Some cold or allergy medications, for example, can cause drowsiness or dizziness, which may result in impaired driving.


Inhalants are volatile substances that can cause impairment when inhaled. Substances like glue, aerosol sprays or solvents, when used recreationally, can result in DUI charges if they impair your ability to drive safely.

Combined substances

It is important to note that combining substances, such as alcohol and prescription medications, can lead to even more severe impairment and increased risk of DUI charges. Be cautious when using multiple substances simultaneously.

In Virginia, the consequences of a DUI conviction can be substantial, including fines, license suspension, mandatory alcohol education programs and even jail time. Therefore, you should understand the implications of driving under the influence of any substance, not just alcohol.

Always prioritize safety on the road and avoid driving if you have consumed any substance that impairs your ability to drive safely.