You can be charged with DUI in California even if you are under driving the influence of a drug that a doctor has legally prescribed for you. Vicodin, Demerol, Dolophine, and Oxycontin are particularly likely to impair your driving skills. These drugs can slow thought processes, reflexes, and reaction times, so driving or operating machinery while using them should always be avoided. Never, ever combine legal prescription drugs with illicit street drugs or alcohol. Police officers in California are trained to look for signs and symptoms of prescription drug use such as constricted pupils, drowsiness, and drooping eyelids. If you’re accused of DWI in southern California because you were using a legal prescription drug, arrange to speak at once with an experienced Orange County DUI defense attorney for the legal advice and representation you’re going to need.

Penalties for driving under the influence of prescription drugs are the same in California as penalties for any DWI conviction. A first offense is usually a misdemeanor if there is no property damage or injuries. The typical sentence will include about $1,500 in fines, a temporary driver’s license suspension, and mandatory attendance at a DUI school. First offenders rarely receive jail time if there are no aggravating circumstances. Don’t assume that an arrest is equivalent to a conviction; speak first to an experienced DWI lawyer.

In any DUI case, prosecutors rely upon the arresting officer’s testimony, the DWI test results, and in some cases, a Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE). A DRE is a police officer who has been certified by the California Highway Patrol Drug Recognition Program to identify individuals who are driving under the influence of drugs. The right attorney will protect your rights, your freedom, and your future; if you’re charged with DWI in southern California – now or in the future – speak with an experienced Orange County DWI defense attorney right away.