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DUI With Drugs
An arrest for driving under the influence (DUI) with drugs does not necessarily mean that you will be found guilty of this crime. If you are facing criminal charges for a drug offense, defense lawyer Gregory H. Comings is prepared to aggressively represent you, working to minimize or avoid penalties in your case. California criminalizes driving under the influence of drugs, and driving under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs. You can face misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on whether you have prior convictions for DUI, and whether your conduct caused injury to someone. Punishment, if convicted, may include jail time, fines, and even the loss of a driver’s license. Our team of experts work together with Attorney Comings to challenge evidence and testimony in order to weaken the prosecution’s case. Our office handles both state and federal drug criminal matters for Riverside residents.
California treats driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs as a misdemeanor, in most cases. Vehicle Code 23152(f)(VC) is the law that makes it a crime to drive when impaired by a drug. It is not a defense to argue that the drug was required for a medical condition, as cold medicine, allergy medicine, and sleeping pills fall under this statute. For this crime, “drugs” include illegal substances such as cocaine and heroin. They also include marijuana as well as prescription medications and over the counter medications.
When a police officer suspects a driver is under the influence of drugs, they may pull them over. First, law enforcement may administer a Preliminary Alcohol Screening test, checking for alcohol in the driver’s system. If the results indicate 0% alcohol in their system, but there are other indicators of potential drug use, the driver may be arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs. These “objective” signs may include thick, slurred speed, red, watery eyes, or profuse sweating.
If there is probable cause for a DUI arrest, the officer may place the driver into custody and issue a DUI blood toxicology screening to list drugs detected in their system. Miranda warnings and other s must be adhered to, and can affect the prosecution’s case. A Miranda warning will be given only when a driver is in custody and not free to leave, and officers want to ask the driver questions designed to elicit incriminating answers.
To convict a driver of drugged driving, the State of California must prove that the drug was present in the driver’s system at the time of driving, and that the driver was impaired as a result of being under the influence of the drug such that they could not safely operate the motor vehicle as would a typical driver who is not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. As an element of the crime, a person is deemed to “drive a vehicle” when they use physical control to move the vehicle. Bicycles are not considered vehicles, however E-scooters and E-bikes do fall under this statute.
Typically, the arresting officer testifies regarding facts that indicated to them the driver was impaired. Experts, sometimes called Drug Recognition Experts, usually testify in a DUI with drugs case. They may offer testimony regarding the driver’s level of impairment. If there was not a Drug Recognition Expert in your case, an arresting officer may provide testimony. However, without specific training, it may be more challenging for the prosecution to meet their burden of proof regarding drug impairment.
First, if there was no responsible suspicion for the DUI traffic stop, or no probable cause for the DUI arrest, you may have a strong defense. Additionally, a defense attorney may rely on toxicology reports to show that at the time of the arrest, you were not under the influence of drugs. This may be appropriate if a driver ingested medicine hours before operating their vehicle and the medicine did not affect their ability to drive, but remained in their system. In other cases, Miranda rights may not have been properly administered, or the police did not follow procedures for collecting, storing, and analyzing blood samples. These may support a motion to exclude evidence, weakening the prosecution’s case.
Vehicle Code 23152(f), can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. If the defendant has prior DUI convictions or there are aggravating factors in the case, the court can treat the case more severely. Felony DUIs may result if someone was hurt or killed as a result of the defendant’s conduct. Additionally, if convicted of drugged driving, the DMV will likely suspend the defendant’s license.
As a knowledgeable DUI with drugs defense lawyer, Attorney Gregory H. Comings remains up to date on the latest research to attack the prosecution’s drugged driving case. Criminal investigation and pending charges do not necessarily result in a conviction. Our office is here to help. Contact us today and set up a free consultation regarding the specifics of your case. We can be reached by phone at (951) 686-3457 or online and proudly assist people throughout Riverside.