When you think “DUI,” the first thought that usually comes to mind is alcohol. But driving under the influence also refers to driving under the influence of drugs. In fact, statistics show that more drivers have been arrested for driving under the influence of drugs than under the influence of alcohol since 1993.
As explained by a study from Public Health Reports, drivers who are 50 years old or older are increasingly testing positive for:
- Prescription drugs;
- Cannabis; and
- Other controlled substances.1
A recently released study examined fatal car crashes involving drivers who tested positive for drugs that occurred between 1993 and 2010. It showed that the number of drivers with three or more drugs in their system has doubled in those years, going from about 11.5 percent of fatal crashes in 1993 to 21.5 percent in 2010.
The study also showed there has been an increase in drivers under the influence of both drugs and alcohol. For example, 70 percent of drivers who had drove under the influence of cocaine also had alcohol in their system, while 55 percent of drivers who tested positive for cannabis had consumed alcohol as well.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a))
While prescription drugs may not be considered illegal, they can effect on your ability to drive a car. That is why California law makes it illegal to drive while under the influence of any of the following drugs (DUID):
- Illicit drugs (cocaine, heroin, ecstasy);
- Prescription drugs (Vicodin, Xanax); and
- Over-the-counter drugs (Tylenol, Nyquil).
It can be more difficult to prove that you are driving under the influence of drugs than alcohol. With alcohol-related DUI cases, officers can perform a Breathalyzer test to test your blood-alcohol content levels. Drug cases are a bit more complex.
If you are pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs, a drug recognition expert will be summoned to the scene. This is a person who is trained to identify if you have been taking either illicit, prescription or over-the-counter drugs.2
Penalties for Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
If you are convicted of DUID, you could face up to one year in county jail and up to $1,000 in fines.
The DMV could also suspend your driver’s license for at least six months. However, the difference between being charged with driving under the influence of drugs and driving under the influence of alcohol is that the DMV will not immediately suspend your driver’s license. Your license will be suspended only if you are convicted.
Let the DUI Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Help You
Many people do not realize that driving while on various types of drugs or medication may be considered driving under the influence. Drugs can greatly impact your ability to operate a vehicle, and you could face severe penalties if you are charged with DUI. That is why it is important to hire an experienced DUI attorney if you have been accused of DUI. At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled attorneys have been successfully defending our clients facing DUI charges for over 30 years.
With offices located in Orange County, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Torrance, Riverside, West Covina, Victorville, Ventura, San Diego and Sherman Oaks, our knowledgeable DUI attorneys are available no matter where you work or live.
Call us at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 to discuss your case. We will be there when you call.