February 28, 2019 By Matthew Wallin

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

You’re having trouble sleeping, so you go to your doctor and she prescribes you Ambien. Later that evening, you take a pill. Then, you realize you need to run a quick errand, so you get in your car and drive. Suddenly, you see flashing red lights behind you. You haven’t consumed any alcohol, but you are arrested for DUI. How could this be possible?

Under California Vehicle Code Section 23152(f), it is illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of drugs.

DUI Prescription Drugs (VC 23152)

VC 23152(f) defines drugs as:

“a substance or combination of substances, other than alcohol, that could so affect the nervous system, brain, or muscles of a person that it would appreciably impair his or her ability to drive as an ordinarily cautious person, in full possession of his or her faculties and using reasonable care, would drive under similar circumstances.

Under this definition, drugs include:

  • Illegal drugs such as methamphetamines and heroin
  • Marijuana and other legal drugs
  • Prescription drugs such as Ambien, and
  • Over-the-counter drugs such as cold medicines

You are considered to be “under the influence” of Ambien or another drug if your mental or physical capacities are so impaired that you are not able to drive with reasonable caution and care that a sober driver would.

Determining Impairment of Ambien

When it comes to alcohol, law enforcement can administer a breath test to determine if you are over the legal blood-alcohol content level. However, this does not exist for drugs like Ambien. Police will look for observable signs of impairment to determine whether you are driving under the influence of drugs. For example, the officer may have seen you swerving in and out of lanes or driving at slow speeds.

If you are placed under arrest for DUI drugs, law enforcement can administer a blood test, which could show that you had used drugs while operating a vehicle.

Punishment for DUI Drugs

If you are charged with DUI drugs for driving under the influence of Ambien or another drug, you face up to six months in county jail and fines of up to $1,000. In addition, your driver’s license could be suspended for up to six months as a result of a DUI drug conviction under VC 23152(f).

With so much at stake, you should contact an experienced DUI defense attorney who can help you fight the charges against you. Our skilled DUI lawyers at Wallin & Klarich have more than 35 years of experience successfully defending clients accused of DUI drugs. We can help you navigate the complex legal process and obtain the most favorable outcome possible.

Contact the DUI Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today

If you or someone you love has been accused of DUI, you should speak to an experienced DUI defense attorney immediately. At Wallin & Klarich, our DUI attorneys have been successfully defending clients facing DUI charges for more than 35 years. Let us help you now.

With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles and San Diego, you can find an experienced Wallin & Klarich DUI defense attorney available near you no matter where you are located.

Call our law firm today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.

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