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Driving Under the Influence of Drugs in CA

Modesto DUI Defense Attorney

You might think that the term "DUI" refers to drunk driving. This is true, but DUI involves more than driving under the influence of alcohol – it can refer to drugged driving as well. According to California Vehicle Code § 23152(a), it is unlawful to drive under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or the combined influence of alcohol and drugs. CA Vehicle Code § 23152(c) states that it is also illegal to operate a motor vehicle if you are addicted to a drug. Simply put, this law makes it illegal to drive while experiencing drug withdrawal symptoms.

Penalties for a DUI of Drugs Conviction

Drugged driving is subject to the same penalties as drunk driving: fines, probation, license suspension, license revocation, incarceration, and community service. Even your first drugged driving conviction could result in six months of jail time and a $1,000 fine. If convicted of a second drugged driving offense, you may be subject to one year of incarceration and a $1,000 fine. The court may also require you to complete a DUI recovery program and the DMV mays suspend your driver's license for two years.

A third offense, within a ten year period, can result in the same consequences. However, your driver's license can be suspended for three years after a third offense. If convicted of a fourth drugged driving offense within ten years, you could lose your driver's license for four years. You will be subject to more severe penalties if a jury convicts you of injuring another person while driving under the influence of drugs.

Drugged Driving and Implied Consent in California

"Implied consent" means that any person who operates a motor vehicle in California is obligated to consent to chemical testing at the request of law enforcement. Refusing a chemical test (blood, urine, or breath test) can result in legal penalties, such as driver's license suspension. According to California Vehicle Code § 23612(a)(2)(B), any person who is arrested for driving under the influence of drugs has the option to submit a breath test or a blood test. Law enforcement may require the motorist to submit both tests since breath tests cannot detect drugs. If the motorist cannot complete a blood test, he/she must submit to a urine test instead.

DUI & Drugs in California

The California Vehicle Code clearly makes it illegal to drive under the influence of drugs, but law enforcement has not developed a reliable method to measure a motorists' level of drug impairment. While alcohol impairment can be measured through blood and breath testing, drug impairment cannot be objectively measured. For example: Marijuana is detectible in the blood stream for approximately two weeks, but the effects of marijuana only last for three or four hours.

Some states enacted zero-tolerance drugged driving laws to eliminate this problem, making it illegal to operate a motor vehicle with any traceable level of drugs in your bloodstream. California has not created a threshold for drugged driving impairment. Instead, law enforcement is trained to identify drugged drivers through careful observation. This means that drugged driving arrests are often based on subjective evidence – not objective chemical testing.

Accused of drugged driving in the Modesto area?

If you or a loved one was arrested for driving under the influence of a controlled substance, Scott Mitchell Law Incorporated has the skill to help you avoid an unnecessary DUI conviction. Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol is dangerous, but convicting an innocent person of a crime they didn't commit is wrong too. Contact our Modesto criminal defense lawyer to see what our topnotch legal representative can do for your case.

Fees and Payments

Here at Scott Mitchell Law Incorporated, when it comes to fees and payments, we strive to be flexible with clients who are seeking legal representation. We offer payment arrangements, flat fee contracts, and traditional retainer agreements. We understand legal representation is necessary for all, and yet difficult for most to pay the fees all at once. Although we cannot guarantee that everyone will be able to hire us, we do promise to do what we can to make it possible for you to hire one of our attorneys to represent you.