Driving Under the Influence of Drugs - Vehicle Code 23152(f)

Over the past twenty-five years, I have seen DUI cases evolve into something that most people cannot even comprehend exists. People are now being charged by the hundreds every year for DUI when they had no alcohol in their system but instead had some drug detected. California Vehicle Code 23152(f) describes driving under the influence of drugs.

Further, the drug does not have to be illegal to be charged with a DUI. People are usually shocked to learn that a drug in their system can have the same effect as alcohol under certain circumstances. The crucial question about a drug-related DUI in LA County is whether the person was so affected by whatever then took to make them unsafe to operate a motor vehicle.

As most of us know, many different drugs can cause us to lose control of our senses. This is especially true if drugs are mixed or mixed with alcohol. As a lawyer in Encino, CA, I have represented many clients who took their prescribed medication and had a severe accidents.

This is where common sense prevails, and taking medication and driving is something to think twice about. Regardless of what the medication bottle says, if the pill affects your ability to drive, it is not worth the risk. However, if, in the unfortunate event, you did end up going with a drug in your system, then you must consult a DUI attorney right away.

What Are the Legal Defenses? 

If a person can prove that they unknowingly were given a drug and ended up driving and being arrested, then this could be viewed as a complete defense to the DUI charge. Of course, proving that you took a drug, you did not know about is more accessible. Sometimes, people are slipped something in their drink, while other times they are given something they believe is one thing that turns out to be another. It boils down to whether a jury can think you did not know that you took a substance that made you unsafe to drive. 

To prove your innocence, you will need the services of an experienced DUI lawyer. We have vast experience handling DUI cases in the Van Nuys Court. Another angle that is always available in a DUI case is to argue that you were not unsafe to operate a motor vehicle at the time of driving. The field sobriety tests determine whether a person can safely use a car. The tests are highly subjective, and a skilled DUI defense attorney can do some severe damage to police officers who are lying about the results of the tests.

Sometimes, there is dashcam evidence when you are pulled over on a traffic stop to refute the police report/testimony, while at other times, their report shows that the DUI arrestee passed some of the tests and was not all that out of it. Whatever the case, it is advised to have an attorney by your side.

What Happens When You Are Pulled Over On Drug-Related DUI?

When someone is pulled over on suspicion of a drug-related DUI in Los Angeles, the police will start by asking questions that might elicit a confession to having taken prescription or illegal drugs.

Many officers will think that an individual is under the influence of alcohol instead of drugs and will conduct field sobriety tests or ask the suspect to submit to a preliminary alcohol screening device. Once it is determined that the individual is not under the influence of alcohol, the officers will change their tactics.

For example, they will check the suspect's pupils for dilation or any other signs that might indicate drug impairment and potentially have a drug recognition expert (DRE) called out to the scene to perform specific tests. In some cases, an officer will bring the suspect to the police station to have a DRE perform tests.

Law enforcement officers can have DREs perform various tests designed to detect impairment by drugs. DREs undergo specialized training through the police department that aims to help them determine whether or not someone is under the influence of drugs.

Consequences Of Refusing To Take A Drug Test In A DUI Arrest

Refusal to consent to a blood test during a DUI arrest will result in the loss of driving privileges for one year. Some people believe that as long as they agree to tests for alcohol, they will not suffer any consequences for refusing to give tests that screen for drugs.

However, a condition of having the privilege to drive in California is agreeing to take a blood test that screens for drugs if an officer suspects that a person is driving under the influence of drugs.

In addition to losing one's license, refusal to submit to a blood test will likely result in a presumption of guilt by the officer or court. There is simply no other way to hold people accountable when they drive under the influence of drugs.

Although the police can obtain a warrant for a sample of someone's blood, doing so can take along. However, if there has been an accident and someone is suspected of driving under the influence of a substance that could affect their ability to drive safely, the police can force a blood test on that person. The police have a lot of power under these circumstances because lives are endangered when accidents occur.

What Is the First Step If I Have a DUI Drug Offense?  

When it comes to any problem I have in my life, I try and achieve clarity as to the extent of the problem and my options before proceeding in any direction. This is where an experienced DUI defense attorney can help you get your head straight and give you a feel for what you are up against before you make any moves that you may regret later.

When I meet with clients for the first time, I try and make it clear that their best bet is, to be honest with me and let me know what happened from beginning to end without trying to spin the story in one direction or another. If you are not honest with your attorney, reaching a favorable outcome for your case will be impossible. As a DUI drugs lawyer, I have helped thousands of clients get good work in their cases and understand how to defend against a DUI.

Once I understand what happened, I am in the best position to advise the client on their best moves related to the DMV and the court. I find that once the client has an idea of what they are up against, they are in a calm state to begin moving forward with their DUI case in a positive and productive direction. All this can be achieved with the help of an experienced DUI drugs lawyer by your side.

Related Content:

What Allows Police to Pull Someone Over for a DUI?