Having a few too many drinks on Balboa Peninsula and then getting behind the wheel can get you arrested and lead to jail time, probation, heavy fines and loss of your driver’s license. But DUI isn’t limited to alcoholic beverages. You can also be arrested for driving under the influence of narcotics in Newport Beach.
You can be prosecuted for driving under the influence of drugs, whether they are legal or illegal.
Illegal drugs use such as cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and “club drugs” can trigger an arrest and lead to your conviction for a DUI.
Additionally, having a valid prescription for a certain kind of medication (e.g., Vicodin and Ambien) doesn’t make it legal to drive under the influence of that prescription medication. Even driving while taking over the counter medication such as Tylenol PM or Nyquil can get you into trouble.
Furthermore, if you are caught driving under the influence of a controlled substance, not only do you face DUI prosecution, but you may also face drug charges including being under the influence of a controlled substance (HS 11550) or possession of drugs (HS 11350, HS 113377, and HS 11357).
Prosecution for Driving Under the Influence of Narcotics in Newport Beach
Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) prohibits driving while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or drugs.
Unlike Vehicle Code Section 23152(b), which is driving under the influence of a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more, a charge for driving under the influence of drugs or narcotics has no measurable threshold that mandates when you are unlawfully under the influence.
Whether you can be found guilty of DUI/drugs will depend on:
- The police officer’s observations regarding your driving;
- Your appearance at the time of being stopped;
- An examination by a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE);
- Your performance during a Field Sobriety Test (FST); and/or
- A chemical (blood) test indicating a positive result for a controlled substance.
A drug recognition expert is a law enforcement officer with special training that helps to identify when a DUI suspect is under the influence of narcotics.
If you have a medical license to use marijuana, you are not exempt from the laws pertaining to driving under the influence of drugs. Additionally, a person who possesses pot (without a license) at the time of being arrested for DUI marijuana may face two additional charges:
- Health and Safety Code Section 11357(b): Possession of Marijuana; and
- Vehicle Code Section 23222: Possession of Marijuana While Driving.
What are the Penalties for a DUI/Drug Conviction?
A first offense misdemeanor conviction for driving under the influence of drugs can result in the following:
- Three to five years of informal probation;
- A minimum $390 fine (which increases to about $2000 after “penalty assessments”);
- A maximum of six months in jail;
- A six-month suspension of your driver’s license by the DMV; and
- A minimum three month drug education class commonly referred to as DUI school.
If you refuse to submit to a chemical test, you will be charged with a “refusal.” If proven, a refusal adds a mandatory jail sentence of at least 48 hours and a minimum one-year driver’s license suspension.
Subsequent misdemeanor convictions for DUI within a 10-year period increase mandatory minimum jail sentences and suspension or revocation of your driver’s license, require installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in your vehicle and increase the requirement that you complete enrollment in a DUI school from 18 to 30 months.
A felony DUI/drug conviction can lead to three years or more in custody, depending on your criminal record, or if anyone was injured or became seriously injured, or died as a result of a DUI accident.
Other Consequences of a DUI/Drug Conviction
In addition to the punishments listed above, other consequences of a DUI/drug conviction may include:
- Two-points added to your driving record under the DMV Negligent Operator Treatment System;
- An increase in your automobile insurance rates or outright cancellation of your policy;
- Suspension of your professional license (e.g., doctor, teacher, lawyer).
Wallin & Klarich has Over 30 years of Experience Defending DUI/Drug Charges
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of drugs in Newport Beach, you need to speak to an experienced DUI defense attorney at Wallin & Klarich today. An arrest for DUI/drug can lead to jail time, probation, heavy fines, suspension of your driver’s license and many other negative consequences.
Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience fighting for the rights of our clients. With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, Wallin & Klarich will be able to examine all of the evidence against you to determine if you can be successfully prosecuted for driving under the influence of narcotics or other drugs.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for immediate help. We will get through this together.