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Critical Differences Between Drugged Driving & Drunk Driving

DUI laws in California prohibit drivers from driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or the combination of both substances. This includes prescription medications, such as Xanax and Valium. By law, driving under the influence of a prescription medication is "impaired driving," even if you have a valid prescription. Some of the most common prescription medications associated with DUI are:

  • Antihistamines
  • Painkillers
  • Antidepressants
  • Anxiety Medications

Although drunk driving and dug-impaired driving are addressed under the same law, enforcement for each crime is different. Prescription drugs, for example, are not subject to California's .08% BAC law. According to California Vehicle Code, is unlawful to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that equals or exceeds .08%.

Law enforcement cannot measure prescription drugs using the same method, so there is no mandatory minimum level of drug-impaired driving.

Typically, police use chemical testing and field sobriety tests to prove that a driver is DUI. This process is different for prescription drug charges. In fact, some DUI checkpoints are equipped with drug testing kits. These tests can identify the presence of drugs in the driver's saliva and are able to pick up trace amounts almost any prescribed medication.

In addition to saliva tests, blood tests can identify the presence of a prescription medication in your system. Police can use pill bottles in your car and other forms of physical evidence against you as well.

You Can Fight Prescription Drug DUI Charges

If you were arrested for driving under the influence of a prescription medication, you need a defense attorney with the right experience. At the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc., we serve clients throughout Orange County and the surrounding area. Our lead attorney, Virginia Landry, is a board certified expert in DUI defense. Let us use this to your advantage in court! For a consultation regarding your case, call our office today.