Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID) – California Vehicle Codes 23152(e) VC & 23152(f) VC
Driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) is a misdemeanor offense in California. Under California Vehicle Codes 23152(e) VC & 23152(f) VC, it is unlawful for you to drive a vehicle under the influence of any drug or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drugs.
Prosecution of California Vehicle Codes 23152(e) VC & 23152(f) VC
In order to be convicted of DUID under California Vehicle Codes 23152(e) VC & 23152(f) VC, the prosecution must prove that:1
- You drove a vehicle; AND
- When you drove, you were under the influence of a drug or a combined influence of alcohol and a drug(s).
Definition of a “Drug” under California DUID Laws
For purposes of California Vehicle Codes 23152(e) VC & 23152(f) VC, the law defines a drug as any “substance or combination of substances, other than alcohol, that could so affect the nervous system, brain or muscles” that would cause impairment of your ability to drive as a reasonably cautious driver.2
Legal prescription medications or even over the counter drugs such as Tylenol PM or Nyquil are considered drugs for purposes of California Vehicle Codes 23152(e) VC & 23152(f) VC. It is not a defense that you were legally able to possess and use the drug. The prosecution must only prove whether you were “under the influence” of any drug, whether you had legal right to use it or not.
“Under the Influence” of Drugs – Defined
Under California Vehicle Codes 23152(e) VC & 23152(f) VC, you are considered to be “under the influence” if, as a result of taking a drug, your mental or physical capacities are so impaired that you are no longer able to drive a vehicle as a cautious and sober driver would while exercising reasonable care under similar circumstances.
Possible Defenses to DUID Charges
A skilled criminal defense attorney will be able to raise several legal defenses to a driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) charge. Some of these defenses might include:
You did not drive a vehicle. If the officer did not see you driving (e.g. the officer found you under the influence in a parked car), you may have a defense.
You were not impaired. To be deemed under the influence of a drug, the prosecution must prove that your driving was impaired as a result of taking the drug. In an alcohol-related DUI case, you are impaired if you drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .08% or higher. However, a DUID differs from an alcohol-related DUI in that there is no “magic number”. Thus, your attorney can challenge the prosecution’s allegations that you were impaired. For example, he or she can argue that any perceived impairment was the result of physical symptoms that were not drug induced (e.g. you were very ill or fatigued).
You did not have knowledge. If you did not have knowledge of the drug’s effects (e.g. you were taking a prescription drug for the first time), you should not be convicted of driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) under California Vehicle Codes 23152(e) VC & 23152(f) VC. In addition, if you did not have knowledge that the drug was in your system or otherwise did not voluntarily consume the drug (e.g. someone slipped the drug into your drink), you should not be convicted of this crime.
You drove out of legal necessity. If you were driving because of extraordinary circumstances that amounted to a legal necessity (e.g. you were in the middle of a medical emergency and were driving to the hospital) you should not be convicted of this crime.
Improper police procedure. Your attorney may be able to argue that the officer did not properly administer chemical tests and therefore is insufficient evidence to prosecute you.
No reasonable cause of stop. If the officer did not have reasonable cause to pull you over (e.g. no swerving, no broken tail light, no traffic violations, etc.), you may have a defense.
Sentence and Punishment for DUID under California Vehicle Codes 23152(e) VC & 23152(f) VC
Punishment varies widely for DUID convictions, depending on the following:
- the specific circumstances of your case;
- whether you caused injury or property damage;
- whether you have prior DUIs in the state of California; or
- whether you refused to submit to a chemical test.
If you are convicted of driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) under California Vehicle Codes 23152(e) VC & 23152(f) VC upon a first-time DUI offense, you face a minimum of 96 hours up to a maximum of six months in county jail; a fine of $390 -$1,000, or both jail and fine. In addition, you face suspension of your driver’s license and driving privileges for up to six months and may be required to enroll in a three-month alcohol education program. You may also be ordered to serve a probation term of three to five years.3
FAQs Regarding DUID
How does an officer determine that I am under the influence?
Similar to DUI, an officer will make note of subjective symptoms that show impairment (e.g. red or watery eyes, slurred speech, slowed motor functions, etc.). An officer may request that you submit to a series of Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) to help determine whether you are under the influence. In addition, you are required to submit to a chemical test of your blood or urine. An officer may also request the help of a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) to help determine whether you are intoxicated.
Am I able to refuse a chemical test?
No. Like an arrest for an alcohol-related DUI, implied consent laws require that you submit to a chemical test. If arrested for driving under the influence of drugs (DUID), you must consent to a blood or urine sample. If you do not consent, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for one year.
How is the accuracy of a chemical test safeguarded?
There are specific regulations written by the California Department of Health Services that police must follow to ensure the accuracy of chemical test results. If police deviate from these rules, then your lawyer may be able to exclude the results and get your case dismissed due to insufficient evidence.
What is a Drug Recognition Expert or DRE?
A DRE is a police expert that takes over the investigation once brought into the police station for processing. The DRE will administer a number of tests, check your motor skills, and gather physical evidence by testing your blood or urine to determine whether you are under the influence.
Do I have to submit to Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) when suspected of DUID?
No, it is your absolute right to refuse FSTs when pulled over for DUI of alcohol or drugs. In fact, it may be beneficial to your case if you refuse to do so.
Call the Skilled DUI Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or a loved one has been charged with driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) under California Vehicle Codes 23152(e) VC & 23152(f) VC, you need to contact an experienced DUI defense attorney immediately.
At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled attorneys have been successfully defending clients facing DUID charges for over 30 years. Let us help you, too. Contact us today so we can thoroughly review your case and build a strong defense strategy to get the very best outcome possible in your case.
With office locations in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.