Under California Vehicle Code §23152, a person who is intoxicated and operating a vehicle can be found guilty of a DUI. Intoxication can arise from either alcohol, drugs or both. Recent changes to the legislation state that a person can be prosecuted for having any amount of drugs in their system. This does not just include recreational drugs, but can also include prescription drugs if they cause a person to be impaired.
When a person is charged with DUI based upon the suspicion on alcohol, there are many different types of evidence that may be presented by the Prosecutors. Of course, like all criminal cases, there are available defenses. The evidence presented is blood alcohol content as read by a breathalyzer, or blood test. These are numbers, numerical quantities, and the statute itself outlines exactly what amount will be demonstrate that a person is impaired. Drugs, however, are a different story.
With drugs there is no specific articulate way to determine whether a person is impaired due to the drugs, whether there is an impact on their ability to operate a vehicle, and how much of a drug can impair a person. What if a person smoked marijuana a few days prior and were then stopped while driving. If this is the case, they are no under the influence, nor are they impaired, but it is still in their system. Does that make it viable for a person to be charged with a DUI? They are not a threat to the safety of others.
Lets consider an example. Dana is having trouble sleeping, so her doctor have prescribed her Ambien. Dana does not take it every night, but she does when she needs to. She takes it one night, and falls asleep almost immediately. It is her first time taking it so she doesn’t know how the reaction is going to be. After a good night’s sleep she heads off to work and then happy hour after work with her co workers. She opts not to have any drinks, choosing an iced tea instead because she does not know how the Ambien will work with the alcohol. Nevertheless, on her way home, she is stopped for suspicion of DUI and is charged. She is administered a blood test and it is construed negatively and found to have Dana under the influence of drugs.
Dana could use a really good, experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney to help fight her case. She took all proper precautions, including not drinking and genuinely felt that she was not impaired. The attorney would argue defenses, and point to holes in the prosecution’s lack of any articulate evidence to demonstrate that she was indeed impaired. This may be difficult with the newly revised statute, but Dana is allowed her day in Court, and should take full advantage of her rights.
If you find yourself in Dana’s position, do not hesitate. It is important to seek the consultation of a professional as soon as possible!