Driving Under the Influence of Drugs

In 2015, the most recent year for which the California Department of Motor Vehicles has released statistics, there were more than 140,000 arrests for alcohol- or drug-related driving offenses, and drugs specifically were implicated in 831 fatal crashes. Each year, more than 70% of DUI arrests result in conviction.

A conviction for DUI can send you to jail and can cost a fortune in fees and raised insurance rates. A DUI will also negatively impact your freedom to drive and may result in other long-term consequences such as being banned from certain jobs. If you have been charged with Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID), it is important to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney to fight conviction and help minimize the overall impact on your life.

Criminal Defense Lawyer for DUID in Ventura County, CA

Jay Leiderman has experience handling a variety of criminal cases, from petty theft crimes to homicide, and is a recognized pioneer of California marijuana law and complex interstate cases involving the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

With your finances, driving privileges, and freedom on the line facing a DUID conviction, you want a skilled, aggressive criminal defense attorney with years of experience like Jay Leiderman. Timing can be crucial – often the earlier you retain a competent attorney the better the overall outcome you can expect, so don’t wait too long. Call Jay Leiderman Law at (805) 654-0200 today for a free consultation. Together we can come up with an effective plan for your defense.

Overview of DUID Law in California

General Information about DUID

Section 23152 of the California Vehicle Code makes it a crime to drive under the influence of any drug (subsection (f)) or the combination of drugs and alcohol (subsection (g)). Subsection (c) also makes it a crime to drive while addicted to any drug, unless the driver is in an approved narcotic treatment program. You are considered “under the influence” if the substance impairs your ability to drive such that you do not use the same level of care as a sober person.

Driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) is treated the same as DUI for alcohol except that there is no legal limit for DUID cases. Any amount of drugs in your system is enough to convict you as long as the prosecution can prove that your driving was impaired. It also does not matter if the drug is illegal, prescription-only, or even over-the-counter. You can be convicted of DUID for taking pills that were legally prescribed to you or for taking non-prescription medicines like NyQuil as long as your driving was impaired.

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DUID Testing

If you are pulled over and suspected of DUID, the officer may request that you perform a roadside field sobriety test such as walking a straight line or standing on one leg, and also may request that you blow into a breathalyzer if you are suspected of drinking. Prior to arrest, these tests are optional, and because they may be used against you at trial, it is best to politely refuse them. There are no consequences for refusal even if the police try to convince you otherwise.

Once you are arrested, you may be required to take a breath, blood, or urine test to look for the presence of drugs and alcohol in your body. These tests are not optional. By receiving a driver’s license from the state, you are said to show “implied consent” to the possibility of being tested if you are ever arrested for DUI. Refusal can result in suspension of your license and a more severe sentence if you are ultimately convicted.

Officers may also bring in a specially trained “drug recognition expert” (DRE) whose job it is to try to determine what substance has been consumed by administering a number of tests, such as pulse rate, pupil size, involuntary movement of the eyes, and muscle tone. You do not have to participate in these tests. The only mandatory test is the chemical test (breath, blood, or urine), and only after arrest.

Because the chemical test is mandatory under the “implied consent” doctrine, there are penalties associated with refusal. These include license suspension for at least 1 year whether or not you are convicted. If you are ultimately convicted, a minimum 2-day sentence in county jail with be handed down.

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Penalties for DUID

DUID is usually prosecuted as a misdemeanor. Persons convicted of DUID are usually not sentenced to jail time for a first offense, though up to six months in county jail is technically possible. Probation is usually imposed for at least 3 years, and a license suspension will go into effect for six months or more. A minimum of three months of “DUI school” and a fine of at least $390 will also be imposed, along with other monetary penalties that together can cost several thousand dollars. For subsequent offenses, these punishments will increase each time, and will include a mandatory minimum sentence in jail.

In certain cases, DUID can be prosecuted as a felony. A DUID can be a felony if:

  1. If you been convicted of 3 or more prior DUI cases within 10 years
  2. If your DUI caused an injury or death
  3. If you have previously been convicted of any felony DUI

A felony DUID can result in between 16 months and 4 years in state prison, a fine of $1,000-$5,000 dollars (plus fees), as well as a longer DUI class and a longer license suspension. Finally, conviction for any DUI, whether felony or misdemeanor, is likely to raise rates for vehicle insurance substantially.

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Information about License Suspension/Revocation

If you arrested for DUID, law enforcement will confiscate your driver’s license and forward relevant information to the DMV, including the arrest report and test results from any chemical test. The DMV will then suspend or revoke your license.

The officer should provide an Order of Suspension and Temporary License, which you can use to keep driving for 30 days. You have 10 days to request a hearing to contest an order of suspension or revocation after it has been issued. Failure to contest will make you unable to challenge the DMVs decision and therefore unable to legally drive until the suspension or revocation period is complete. A competent lawyer can assist you with this process.

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Additional Resources

California Department of Motor Vehicles, 2017 Annual Report of the California DUI Management System – A publication by the DMV that compiles relevant data about drunk- and drugged-driving incidents in California. Many kinds of statistics are present, including information about accidents, arrests, convictions, license suspension/revocation, and recidivism rates. Read this document to get a better picture of the scope of the DUI problem in our state.

Arrest for Driving Under the Influence DUI General Information – This is the DMV’s attempt to answer several common questions people may have after a DUI arrest.  The page includes critical time-sensitive information about challenging your license suspension. It also contains answers to frequently asked questions about DUI classes and chemical tests.

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Ventura Defense Attorney for Driving Under the Influence of Drugs

The prospect of spending time in jail, paying huge fines, and losing your freedom to drive can be frightening. Fortunately, an experienced, knowledgeable attorney can be by your side during the entire criminal process and help strategize with you in order to achieve a satisfactory outcome.

Headquartered in Ventura, Jay Leiderman Law has defended people across Ventura County against all manner of criminal charges, from minor misdemeanors to the most serious felonies on the books. We work with clients in all ten Ventura County cities, including Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, Oxnard, Moorpark, Ojai, Camarillo, Fillmore, Port Hueneme, Santa Paula, and Ventura itself. Call (805) 654-0200 today for a free, confidential consultation. Together we can develop a strategy specifically tailored your unique situation and minimize the impact a DUI charge can have on your life.

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