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Driving Under The Influence Of Drugs (DUID): California Vehicle Code Section 23152(e)

Driving under the influence of drugs, or DUID, is essentially the same as a DUI with alcohol. The code section reads: “It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any drug to drive a vehicle. “

pillsIn essence, the prosecutor has to prove that the defendant drove a vehicle, and when s/he drove, s/he was under the influence of a drug. The drug can be an illegal substance, a prescribed medication or even an over-the-counter medicine that could affect the nervous system, brain, or muscles of a person.

Under the influence” is the hardest element for the government to prove. According to the California Jury Instructions (2110), “A person is under the influence if, as a result of…taking a drug, his or her mental or physical abilities are so impaired that he or she is no longer able to drive a vehicle with the caution of a sober person, using ordinary care, under similar circumstances.”

Unlike drunk driving cases involving alcohol, where the state presumes that if the person’s BAC was at or above a .08 at the time of driving, they are under the influence, there is no such magic number in determining whether someone is DUID. Instead, the prosecutor looks to the totality of the circumstances including the testimony of the arresting officer and the state’s experts regarding their observations.

The arresting officer will testify to the driving prior to the stop, the physical appearance and general observations once contact was made, statements made by the driver, and the performance on the field sobriety tests that were conducted.

The drug recognition expert, or DRE, testifies to the DUID investigation, including the 12-step evaluation process that was done once s/he arrived on scene.

If convicted of DUID, the penalties are the same as if the matter involved alcohol. These cases are “wobblers”, meaning they can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. Typically, there is a probation term of three to five years, a fine to the court, a DUI program, a MADD panel class, and a driver’s license suspension. In addition, depending on how many prior DUI’s the defendant has, there can be additional penalties such as jail time, community service, public work projects, among other requirements.

If you have been arrested and charged with driving under the influence of drugs, you owe it to yourself to retain the best DUI defense attorney to represent you. Susan L. Hartman focuses her practice on DUI defense and is available for a free consultation. Know your rights. Call (619)260-1122 today.