Driving Under the Influence of Drugs

Driving Under the Influence of DrugsMost people know about driving under the influence (DUI) laws, which deal with driving a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. But there is a more specific vehicle code that deals with driving under the influence of drugs. California Vehicle Code 23152(f) delineates that it is a crime for an individual to operate a motor vehicle while they are influenced by drugs (DUID).

Many people are on medications – prescribed or over-the-counter – that they must take at all times, even while driving. The Vehicle Code makes the distinction that drugs, for the purposes of a DUID, includes some prescription and other common medications, which means that those using them should check whether they are still permitted to drive. Moreover, drugs refer, but are not limited, to marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and other hallucinogenic substances. If the drug will affect a person’s skills/nervous system, it is likely to be included.

The problem with a DUID is that there is not a specific legal limit with drug intoxication as there is with alcohol impairment. Therefore, an arrest is likely to include various tests and scanning of surroundings by the officer to determine whether drugs can be a possible impairment to the driver. Drug recognition experts who can perform special training measures are also available, but not in all regions. If all of the steps are followed for arrests and conviction, the defendant can face either a misdemeanor or felony offense. A misdemeanor will involve up to five years of probation, possible fine, and other similar DUI penalties like license suspensions. Serving time in jail can also be added, depending on the case. A felony conviction will depend on the past criminal history of the driver and/or whether injury occurred. The felony can require up to four years in a county jail.

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