Can I Really Be Convicted Of A DUI For Taking Ambien Or Other Drugs My Doctor Prescribed For Me? (CVC 23152a)
November 27, 2012

Many people believe that a DUI only applies to someone who is driving while “under the influence of alcohol”. However, California Vehicle Code 23152a and b applies to any person who is driving a motor vehicle while “under the influence” of any “intoxicant” or drug that impairs their ability to drive the motor vehicle safely.

However, people are also arrested for being under the influence of marijuana as well as many other unlawful substances. However, it doesn’t stop there. If you have been prescribed medication by your doctor you can be arrested for driving a motor vehicle after taking the prescribed medication if the arresting officer believes your driving is impaired due to you having ingested the medication your doctor prescribed to you.

As many of you are aware many prescription drugs have a warning that states something to the effect, “do not drive heavy machinery after taking this medication” or it might say, “This medication may make you drowsy”, etc. These are in effect warnings that the drug you are taking may negatively impact your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.

If you are arrested for being under the influence of prescription medication taking a breathe test will not reveal any evidence against you. However, if you choose to take a blood test (or if the officer attempts to compel you to take a blood test) then the amount of the prescription medication in your system will often be able to be determined. Then the issue will become does the amount of drug found in your system mean you are legally under the influence. This will be a question for the jury to decide if your case goes to a jury trial.

Prescription drug medication cases are more difficult for the prosecution to prove than a DUI based upon alcohol. This is because there are different medical opinions as to what level of drug in your system makes you “legally impaired to drive”

If you are taking prescription medication the best advice is not to drive unless your doctor says it is safe to do so. If you are arrested for a DUI based upon having taken prescribed medication you should immediately contact Wallin and Klarich to help you. We have been successfully defending persons arrested for DUI for over 30 years. We can answer your questions. Call us toll free at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245. We will be there when you call

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