DUI & Vitamins

Each state has enacted its own driving under the influence (DUI) statutes. In Texas for example, you can be arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) if your mental or physical faculties are impaired due to the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance (including a prescription medication), a dangerous drug, or “any other substance into the body, “ under Section 49 of the Texas Penal Code.

So technically in states like Texas, a driver can be prosecuted for DWI if the state can prove that “any other substance” in the body affected the driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle. This means that the following vitamins and herbs could lead to a DWI in Texas if they cause the driver to be drowsy behind the wheel:

  • Kava
  • 5-HTP
  • Skullcap
  • Melatonin
  • Valerian Root
  • Passion Flower
  • Tryptophan
  • Gingko Biloba
  • L-Theanine

What about California? Can you get a DUI for driving under the influence of a sleep-inducing vitamin or herb that affects your ability to drive safely? As of this writing, California’s DUI statute is not as broad as say, Texas’ DWI statute.

Under Section 23152(a) it’s illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol. And, under Section 23152(f), it’s unlawful to drive under the influence of any drug. Under California’s DUI statute, it’s illegal to drive under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs, and it’s illegal to drive if you’re addicted to any drug.

Now natural supplements...the statute does not specifically address those, nor does it make a reference that could indirectly apply to natural supplements like Texas’ DWI statute, but there are still gray areas.

AM I STILL AT RISK OF DUI CHARGES?

Even though California’s DUI statute specifically refers to alcohol and “drugs,” that does not mean that a police officer won’t try to arrest someone for driving under the influence of a natural supplement, specifically one a driver uses to self-treat a sleep issue, anxiety, depression, or allergies.

Even though the above supplements are 100% drug free and they would not be detected on a drug test, you run the risk of them being considered a drug that impairs and therefore, the state could try to pursue DUI charges.

If you’re facing DUI charges for driving under the influence of a natural vitamin or herbal supplement, we urge you to contact us to discuss your defense options. Call today to schedule a free case evaluation with an Orange County DUI attorney!

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