California Vehicle Code 23152(a) makes it illegal to drive under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Driving under the influence of drugs can be defined as any substance other than alcohol that can affect your brain, muscles, or nervous system. How is it determined that you are driving under the influence of drugs? When those drugs impair you to the point that you can no longer drive in the same manner a sober person would driver under similar circumstances.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
Driving under the influence of drugs applies to both illegal and pharmaceutical drugs that may impair your ability to drive. These drugs include:
- Illicit drugs such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana
- Prescriptions drugs, including pain killers such as vicodin, oxycodone
- Over-the-counter drugs, including drugs that cause drowsiness
If you are stopped for driving under the influence of drugs you will typically be analyzed by a drug recognition expert (DRE), if one is available, who is trained in identifying drug impairment. In drug impairment there is no BAC measurement like you find in DUI cases, the DRE will use their knowledge of drug impairment to determine whether you were driving under the influence of drugs. If a DRE is not present the arresting officer will use their drug recognition training, which may be possible to dispute in court, depending on the level of their training or whether or not they have been trained in the first place.
You are considered to be driving under the influence of drugs when “your physical or mental abilities are impaired to such a degree that you no longer have the ability to drive with the caution characteristic of a sober person of ordinary prudence under the same or similar circumstances.” Some of the signs an arresting officer may look for include:
- Red, watery eyes
- Slurred speech
- Red, flushed face
- Unsteady gait, inability to keep balance
- Unsafe driving
- Physical appearance
- Field sobriety tests
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs Penalties
Penalties for driving under the influence of drugs range in severity but can have serious consequences on your personal and professional life. Driving under the influence of drugs is a misdemeanor in California, but the offense can be filed as a felony if it is your fourth or subsequent DUI offense, if you have even one prior felony DUI conviction, or if your driving causes an accident that injures a third party. You could have DUI probation, license suspension, fines, DUI school, and possibly jail time depending on the circumstances of your case.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs Defenses
It is not impossible to fight a driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) charge. In fact, there are a number of legal defense that are available to help you fight your DUI charge which may include getting the charge reduced or possibly dismissed depending on the details of the case and the evidence against you. At The Law Office of Gregory W. Fox we examine key details to help build your defense, including:
- Having drugs in your system does not necessarily mean that you were driving under the influence of drugs
- Certain physical conditions may give the appearance of drug impairment when you are not actually impaired
- Details from the arresting officer
If you have been arrested or charged with driving under the influence of drugs you should contact The Law Office of Gregory W. Fox to discuss your case confidentially. The first step in your defense should be contacting a Fresno DUI attorney with the experience and skills necessary to adequately defend you in court. We will fight for you. Contact us today at (559) 222-5800, in most instances an appointment can be made for the same day.