Can I get Charged with a Los Angeles DUI Without Having Consumed Any Alcohol?

Many of our clients mistakenly believe that a person can only be charged with driving under the influence if a person is intoxicated by consuming alcohol. This is not true at all. A person can be charged with a DUI in Los Angeles without ever having consumed a single drop of alcohol.

A person who is charged with a DUI is charged under California Vehicle Code §23152 or California Vehicle Code §23153. California Vehicle Code §23152 is the statute a person is charged under when the charge is a misdemeanor. Section (a) under §23152 refers specifically to driving under the influence of alcohol. However, section (f) refers to driving under the influence of drugs, and (g) states that it is “unlawful for a person who is under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug to drive a vehicle”.

This means that any type of drugs, including prescription drugs, can lead to a DUI conviction. Let’s consider an example.

Danielle has a lot of stress and anxiety from work so she goes to see a therapist to help her manage the stress. The therapist writes her a prescription for anxiety to help Danielle feel better. As soon as she leaves the therapist’s office, Danielle fills the prescription and takes the first dose. She then heads over to a friend’s place to have coffee. Danielle has never taken any prescription medications before for her anxiety. When Danielle leaves her friend’s place she does not feel right. It is not until she is well onto the freeway that she feels as if does not have control of her senses. She is swerving and is stopped by officers. The stop leads to an arrest for driving under the influence.

Danielle has had no alcohol, and she has not caused any harm or injury to anyone. She did not intentionally take the medication to be intoxicated, nor was she aware that the medication would impair her driving abilities. This still can lead to a DUI conviction for Danielle. There are way to possibly mitigate the charges, by presenting evidence, witnesses and possible letters from the community that give good character testimony on behalf of Danielle.

If you find yourself in a similar situation as Danielle, without having had any alcohol in your system, you are still facing serious charges. Whether you are intoxicated through legal, prescription medication, or whether you have consumed copious amounts of alcohol, the results of a conviction can be the same. It is important to retain a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer who has not only dealt with many alcohol case, but many drug and prescription drug cases as well. The experienced and knowledgeable legal professional knows the ins and outs of the legal system and knows how to present a strong defense. The attorney will gather all the evidence that will give your case the best possible chances of having your case dismissed or in the very least reduced.