In California, law enforcement can pull you over if they suspect you are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and the types of “drugs” may surprise you. Driving under the influence of alcohol is a common offense, but law enforcement has been focusing more (and more) on drugged driving in recent years.
Drugged driving is driving under the influence of any drug, prescription or narcotic. Since such a large percentage of the U.S. population is on at least one prescription medication, if not several at any given time, more DUI arrests are being made for prescription drug DUI than ever before.
What Does the Law Say?
Under Section 23152(f) of the California Vehicle Code, it states: “It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any drug to drive a vehicle.” This means that you can get a DUI if you’re caught driving under the influence of illegal drugs, prescription drugs, or even an over-the-counter medication.
Unlike alcohol, there’s no way to easily determine an individual's level of intoxication when it comes to drugs in their system. The legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 percent for most drivers, but there is no such maximum threshold when it comes to drugged driving.
Referring to "drugged driving," many people think of driving under the influence of marijuana, cocaine, speed, LSD, or ecstasy. But more often than not, a lawfully prescribed drug is behind the drugged driving. And, law enforcement is well-aware that many types of prescription drugs used in proper doses can impair a person's ability to drive safely.
Due to the fact that certain types of medications can cause dizziness, drowsiness, blurred vision, and problems with muscle coordination, law enforcement can charge a person with DUI if prescription drugs were in their bloodstream. An individual only has to have a drug in their system to be arrested and charged with DUI. No alcohol is necessary for a DUI charge in the United States.
Challenging the State’s Evidence
Some prescription drugs can remain in a person's bloodstream for a week after use, making it difficult to determine whether a DUI charge is warranted even after a blood test. If you have been arrested for driving under the influence for having a common prescription drug in your system such as Adderall, Zoloft or any type of SSRI, the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. can help.
Contact our Orange County DUI attorneys today to discuss options for your defense.