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Here’s an article from fellow criminal defense attorney Todd Spodek. Being pulled over and charged with a DUI in Los Angeles is a big deal. It’s a crime that includes many potential legal issues. You’re arrested and charged, and you could lose your license, be put in jail, and pay expensive fines if you are convicted. Even if your DUI is your first offense and your first legal issue, it’s still a misdemeanor. If it’s not the first time you’ve been in trouble with the law or you caused an accident, hurt someone, or damaged property, it’s a felony crime with even tougher penalties imposed on anyone charged with a DUI.
If you believe you must only be under the influence of alcohol to be issued a DUI, you’re incorrect. A DUI in California can be issued if you’re under the influence of illegal or legal drugs. This is why you should get to know the law, how it works, and what it means if you’re arrested for a DUI even though you had nothing to drink.
Drugs and Driving
When you are under the influence of alcohol when you’re pulled over, it’s easy to assume you’re being arrested and sent to jail. You know you’re being arrested and charged with a DUI, and you know a conviction is entirely possible. However, what happens when you were using drugs but you were not using alcohol? You’re still under the influence, and you could be convicted.
Drugs are illegal, and you cannot use them or drive a vehicle after you’ve been using them. If your argument is that you are being prescribed medical marijuana and use it for medical purposes, you still might be convicted of a DUI. It’s drugs, even though you are taking them legally. There are laws that state you cannot operate a vehicle if you take medical marijuana over the legal limit. It’s the same as alcohol laws. Even if you are 21, you can legally drink as much as you want so long as you’re not driving a vehicle following your drinks.
Prescription Drugs and Driving
Just like someone with a medical marijuana prescription cannot drive if they are under the influence, the law also prohibits anyone from driving if they are under the influence of other prescription drugs. There is no limit to what you cannot drive with or without in your system if you are impaired by the medication. Some people are arrested for driving after they take their depression and anxiety medication, and some people are not affected at all by it. Some people take medication for years without issues and one day forget to take their meds with a meal and it affects them differently.
If you are taking medication issued by a doctor and the doctor tells you not to operate a car while taking the medication, you cannot operate a vehicle while taking the medication. If the prescription you are taking isn’t prescribed to you, it’s a bigger issue. You have to follow instructions when it comes to prescriptions. If you must take them but you also have to drive during the day, your doctor will provide you with options such as taking them at night when you get home or before you go to bed.
You can and will be convicted of driving under the influence even if you don’t have a drop of alcohol in your system if you’re guilty of taking drugs. Prescription or not, you cannot operate a vehicle on certain drugs, and you can put lives at risk if you do. If you’re arrested for a DUI and you want to fight the charge because you didn’t know you were putting someone at risk or because you didn’t know the effects the medication might have on you, you must all an attorney. A DUI attorney is well-versed in handling cases involving all DUI issues, and they can help.
Jail time, fines, and even the loss of your license are just a few of the potential penalties you face when you are charged with a DUI. If you are convicted, you could suffer significantly for the foreseeable future. Let an attorney help you fight this charge and help you win your case.