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Most Californians think about alcohol-related offenses when they think about charges of driving under the influence. The state also prohibits driving under the influence of drugs. DUI of drugs charges are becoming increasingly common in Los Angeles with the easy availability of recreational and prescription drugs. If you are facing a charge of DUI of drugs, it is important that you get the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands the science behind these types of cases as well as the legal grounds for charging the offense.
California Vehicle Code §23152
California Vehicle Code §23152 outlines the grounds for a DUI conviction in California. The prohibition against driving under the influence of alcohol is contained in subsections (a) and (b), which make it illegal for a person to drive a vehicle in the state while he or she is under the influence of alcohol or while he or she has a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more. Subsection (c) of the statute criminalizes driving by people who are addicted to drugs, while (d) criminalizes driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04 percent or higher for commercial drivers.
2014 revision to CVC §23152
In 2014, the state legislature revised CVC §23152 to add subsections (e) and (f). Under (e), the code expressly forbids driving a vehicle in the state while under the influence of any drug. Subsection (f) makes it illegal to drive while under the influence of alcohol and drugs. It is interesting to note that the amounts and types of drugs that can lead to DUID charges are not specified by the statute. This means that in order to secure a conviction, a prosecuting attorney will only need to prove that a defendant had drugs present in any amount in his or her system. Since the code does not define whether or not the drug must still be impacting the driver and his or her ability to drive, people may find themselves charged with DUID offenses when they simply have traces of a drug still present in their blood or urine. An example of this might include someone who smokes marijuana a day or two prior to driving who still tests positive for it after they are stopped.
Why getting experienced legal help is important
An attorney who has experience with defending against allegations of driving under the influence of drugs may be able to analyze the likely outcome of a case based on the relevant facts. He or she may review how the stop was conducted, how the testing was performed and what prompted the officer to request testing in the first place. If your lawyer identifies constitutional problems with the stop, search or seizure, he or she may file evidentiary motions challenging the admission of the evidence that is being used against you.
Because the law involving driving under the influence of drugs is very vague, it is a good idea for you to seek legal help. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys are knowledgeable about the statutory law as well as the case law that shapes the courts’ interpretation of it. They also have working relationships with the prosecutors, judges and court clerks, which helps them to better identify the best approach to take in your defense.
You could be convicted of a DUID in Los Angeles even if you were only taking legally prescribed medications. Contacting a Los Angeles attorney who is knowledgeable about DUI of drugs is important. Your lawyer will be able to advise you regarding how to handle your charges while also aggressively advocating on your behalf. He or she will provide you with an honest assessment of the strength of the prosecution’s case against you and whether or not you should try to secure a favorable plea or instead fight the case through trial. To learn more about your rights and the circumstances of your own case, schedule your consultation by calling us today.