CLICK HERE TIPS TO AVOID MISTAKES AFTER A DUI ARREST

Articles Posted in Drugs

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.

California Vehicle Code §23152 is the driving under influence statute, and outlines what is unlawful behavior and grounds for a conviction. The code section states that “It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle” and includes “(b) It is unlawful for a person who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle”.

The code section has also been recently revised to include 23152(e), which states that “It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any drug to drive a vehicle”. This recent revision makes it much harder for the driver who is being accused of driving under the influence, and makes the prosecutor’s case much easier. Now, prosecution only has to prove that there are drugs present in the driver’s system. It could be a very minimal amount, and would still qualify for driving under the influence.

Note how the code section does not distinguish between drugs. It does not clarify whether the drug must still have an impact on the driver, or if it can just simply be in the system. For example, if David smokes marijuana on Sunday, and is driving to work on Tuesday. Would he still have grounds to be charged with a DUI when the effects of marijuana have worn off? This is a relatively new addition to the DUI statute.

Many of our clients come into our office and are upset because they have been arrested for a DUI, but have had no alcohol. There is a common misconception that being arrested for a DUI requires alcohol consumption, when in fact it does not.

You can still be arrested if you are operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs alone. This not only includes drugs like marijuana, heroin and cocaine, but it also includes prescription drugs. Many prescription drugs inhibit your ability to operate a vehicle, and if you are on any such drugs, the court may find you guily of a DUI.

The beginning part of California Vehicle Code §23152 reads as follows:

The legislature amended the California Vehicle Code §23152 pertaining to misdemeanor DUIs to specifically include language stating that it is unlawful for a person to be operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs.

A person who is driving can be charged with a DUI if they are under the influence of drugs, alcohol or both. However, if alcohol is involved, it will be an easier case for prosecution to prove. Some examples will help understand the difference and why it may be easier.

David is driving home from a party. He has had a few beers and feels fine. He is stopped by officers for running a red light. The officers approach his vehicle and smell beer on his breath. They also notice that he is slurring his words and is having a hard time focusing on what the officer is saying. Suspecting that he has consumed alcohol, officers ask him to submit to a breath test, which David agrees to. David takes the test and gets a reading of .12.

In January 2014, the legislature changed the language in California Vehicle Code §23152 and 23153. California Vehicle Code §23152 is the code section that pertains to misdemeanor DUI charges. The new code section reads as follows:

(a) It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle.

(b) It is unlawful for a person who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle.

In recent times, the legislature has revised the statute pertaining to the use of drugs while operating a vehicle. The statute used to be very simple and simply included that it was unlawful to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. However, since January 1, 2014, they legislature added specific sections referring to drugs alone. In their revision they made a very significant and important change. The revised law requires an in depth discussion to understand how it can affect you or your case if you have recently been arrested for suspicion of a DUI.

California Vehicle Code Subsection (c ) reads as follows:

(c) It is unlawful for a person who is addicted to the use of any drug to drive a vehicle. This subdivision shall not apply to a person who is participating in a narcotic treatment program approved pursuant to Article 3 (commencing with Section 11875) of Chapter 1 of Part 3 of Division 10.5 of the Health and Safety Code.

sCalifornia Vehicle Code §23152 and §23153 states that it is unlawful for a “person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle.”

When a person is suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol, officers are able to more readily ascertain whether they are under the influence from observations and scientific data. For example, if a person is under the influence of alcohol they may be asked to submit to a breathalyzer. The breathalyzer will return back the amount of alcohol that is present in the driver’s system. Even the slightest amount will let the officer know that the person has, in fact, been drinking.

An officer can also use subjective observations to build the case that a driver is under the influence of alcohol. For example, a person will have slurred speech, they may have watery eyes, and they may give off the strong odor of alcohol.s