The Riverside County District Attorney’s office announced that it has received over $490,000 from the California Office of Traffic Safety to assist in prosecuting drugged driving cases. The grant will be used by the Vertical Prosecution Unit to retain additional DDAs to prosecute drug impaired driving cases. According to a statement by the District Attorney’s office. The Vertical Prosecution Unit’s goal is to reduce “drug impaired traffic fatalities and injuries by holding drug-impaired drivers accountable.”
California aggressively prosecutes drug-impaired and alcohol-impaired driving, and Riverside County is no exception. Tough laws designed to decrease the number of fatalities from DUI accidents carry severe penalties for drivers who are convicted for drug-impaired driving or alcohol-impaired driving. Alcohol-impaired driving fatalities increased during 2013 according to the California Office of Traffic Safety. The percentage of drivers killed in accidents who tested positive for legal and/or illegal drugs has been increasing every year since 2006; therefore, law enforcement agencies are cracking down on driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) cases throughout California.
Have You Been Charged With Drug-Impaired Driving?
However, being charged with driving while under the influence of drugs is not the same thing as a guilty verdict. If you have been charged with drug-impaired driving in Riverside, San Bernardino, or the surrounding areas, contact the criminal defense attorneys of Greenberg, Greenberg & Kenyon, APLC immediately at (951) 274-0003.
Our criminal defense lawyers understand DUID laws. You may have a valid legal defense based on the circumstances of the DUI stop and arrest. We offer a free initial consultation so that you can get the facts about drug-impaired driving laws in California.
California Drug-Impaired Driving Laws
According to California Vehicle Code §23152, it is a crime for any person “who is under the influence of any drug to drive a vehicle.” Under this same code section–, it is also a crime for any person “who is under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug to drive a vehicle.”
Some California drivers may be unaware that legally prescribed drugs are included in the “drugs” that are covered by this statute. In many cases, over-the-counter medications as well as prescribed medications contain warnings that state a person taking this medication should not operate a motor vehicle. Therefore, regardless of whether the “drug” is an illegal drug or a legally prescribed drug, driving under the influence of a drug is a crime in California. The question then becomes, “When does a drug impair your ability to operate a motor vehicle to the extent that you can be charged with drug-impaired driving?”
What Evidence Is Used to Prosecute a Drug-Impaired Driving Charge?
Prosecuting a drug-impaired driving case is much different from prosecuting an alcohol-impaired driving case. When a person is arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, the law is very clear. If the person’s blood-alcohol content (or BAC) is .08 or greater, the person is guilty of DUI and the DMV can suspend his or her driver’s license immediately. However, California DUI laws do not specify a specific “number” that the state can use to prove that you are guilty of drug-impaired driving.
When prosecuting a drug-impaired driving case, the state must prove that you were driving the vehicle under the influence of a drug that impaired your ability to operate the vehicle in a safe manner. The evidence used in a DUID case includes any blood or urine tests administered after the DUI arrest that indicate you had drugs in your system and establishing what drugs were in your system at the time of the arrest.
The prosecution’s case relies heavily on the testimony of the officer. The officer will testify as to your physical appearance and behavior immediately prior to, during, and after the DUI stop. Because it is more difficult for the state to prove drug-impaired driving charges, an experienced criminal defense attorney can often attack the “evidence” to have the charges dismissed. It is vital that you contact our office immediately if you have been charged with driving under the influence of drugs so that our team can immediately begin to investigate the circumstances of your arrest to build a strong defense strategy that will refute the state’s evidence.
What are the Penalties for Drug-Impaired Driving?
Driving under the influence of drugs is a misdemeanor in California; however, you can be charged with a felony if any of the following conditions apply:
- You have a prior felony DUI conviction;
- You caused an accident where a third party was injured; or,
- This is your fourth or subsequent DUI charge.
Penalties for a conviction of driving under the influence of drugs may include jail time, fines, probation, mandatory DUI classes, and suspension of your driver’s license. If the drug in your system is an illegal substance, you may also be charged with another crime for related to the illegal drug. If convicted, you can face additional penalties for the drug charge. Being convicted of a DUI for drugs can have serious consequences for you future including limiting your potential job opportunities. To protect your future, contact our office to discuss strategies that can keep you out of jail, avoid expensive fines, and protect your future.
Contact an Experienced Riverside DUI Attorney
If you have been charged with drug-impaired driving or driving under the influence, you need a criminal defense attorney who understands California’s DUI laws and who knows the best way to defend you. You want an attorney who has extensive knowledge of the legal system and extensive experience defending DUI cases. Our attorneys work diligently to successfully resolve your case without any jail time, or win your case at trial.
For more information about DUI laws and DUI defenses or to schedule your free initial consultation, contact our office by calling (951) 274-0003 or visiting us online. You do not need to face the criminal justice system alone—our team of legal professionals is here to provide you with the support and legal counsel you need as you fight your DUI arrest.