Many people know drunk driving is illegal, but few realize it is also illegal to drive under the influence of drugs. Under California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a), it is unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of legal or illegal drugs. The state recognizes that someone driving after taking illegal controlled substances or prescription medications may not be able to safely operate a vehicle and is at risk of causing injury to themselves or other motorists. Orange County, in particular, is cracking down on DUID or driving under the influence of drugs and such drivers face stiff penalties. The Orange County District Attorney has gone so far as to specially assign individual prosecutors in each courthouse to prosecute DUID cases. A skilled Orange County DUI with drugs attorney can go a long way in ensuring the results of your case are favorable.
Driver’s License Consequences
While the DMV does not take separate administrative action against drivers arrested for non-alcohol related DUI, drivers who are convicted in court are suspended by DMV upon notification from the court clerk. A license suspension is just one of the consequences you may face if convicted. An Orange County DUI with drugs attorney can help you wade through the messy details of your non-alcohol related DUI case.
Commonly Alleged Impairing Prescription Drugs
Three types of drugs are abused most often:
- Opioids, which are typically prescribed for pain relief
- CNS depressants (often referred to as sedatives or tranquilizers), which are prescribed for anxiety or sleep problems
- Stimulants, which are prescribed for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy, or obesity
Even prescription drug use that is legally prescribed and taken according to doctors’ orders can provide cause for an arrest for driving under the influence of drugs. These types of drugs include medical Marijuana, Alprazolam (Xanax), Diazepam (Valium), Codeine, Zolpidem (Ambien), Hydrocodone, Oxycodone (Oxycontin), Morphine (Duramorph) other commonly prescribed drugs.
Painkillers, muscle relaxers, tranquilizers, and antidepressants all may have adverse effects on drivers. The State of California does not care why the drugs were ingested by the driver, only whether the driver can exercise the care and caution characteristic of a sober driver under similar conditions. If you have been charged with driving under the influence of drugs, you will need to work with an Orange County DUI lawyer who has years of experience representing clients in similar cases. The legal process can be complex, and the penalties you may face are severe, including jail time, fines, and a conviction that will remain on your record. Don’t take a chance working with an inexperienced defense lawyer or representing yourself.
Drug Effects and Evidence in DUID Cases
DUI cases involving drug use are even more complex than alcohol DUI cases.
Police officers can test the impairment level of someone who is driving drunk, but it’s not as easy when the person is under the influence of drugs. Since it is exceedingly difficult to ascertain, in scientific and legal terms, whether a person using medications or illicit drugs is impaired for the purpose of driving, both the state and the defense lawyers rely heavily on medical and toxicological experts to investigate these matters. Much of the evidence produced at trial in drug related DUI cases is provided by expert opinion testimony.
Hire an Orange County DUI with Drugs Attorney
At The Law Offices of Todd Landgren, we know just how far the prosecution will go to win its case. Mr. Phillips argued his very first DUI jury trial against a seasoned, specially assigned prosecuting attorney. The driver had taken his necessary medications as directed by his medical doctor, but the prosecution refused to compromise the DUID charge. The jury hung, with six voting for conviction and six voting for acquittal. The prosecution didn’t agree to drop the charge until we committed to arguing a second jury trial!
We are confident that our attorneys will provide you with the best representation possible, as we consider ourselves to be experts in defending DUID crimes, with hundreds of cases successfully and relentlessly defended. If you are facing DUID charges in Santa Ana, Laguna Beach, Irvine, or any other city in Orange County, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at The Law Offices of Todd Landgren. Call our law firm at 949-535-1303 or fill out the consultation form on this website.