It is a crime under the California law to drive when you are under the influence of a drug, alcohol, and a drug and, if you are an addict of a drug, and you do not participate in any rehabilitation program. Driving under the influence not only applies to drive when drunk but also driving under the influence of a drug. Drugs in this context include illegal drugs like heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. Legal drugs like Marijuana, prescription medicines, and over-the-counter medications are also classified as drugs.
Being under the influence in California means that the drug you have consumed impairs your ability to drive, and you, therefore, cannot exercise caution the same way as if you were sober. There is no specific limit for the amount of drug that shows in your system because a little amount that may show up after the test can lead to your arrest for driving under the influence of a drug.
Sometimes you may use the drug because it was a prescription by your specialist, but that doesn't matter as long as the drug affects your ability to exercise caution on the roads, you will still be charged for driving under the influence of a drug.
DUID has severe penalties that range from expensive fines, permanent criminal records, jail term, and other consequences that may be long-term.
Therefore, you need legal representation from the California Criminal Lawyer Group when convicted of driving under the influence of a drug from an attorney who understands all the procedures of our trial process. You will gather as much evidence as possible to have your charges reduced or the case dismissed.
What the Prosecutor Should Prove to Convict You for Driving Under the Influence of a Drug
Before the prosecutor convicts you, they must have proof that:
- you were operating a machine
- By the time the police arrested you were under the influence of a drug
- You had the knowledge that you were under the influence of a drug
There are situations where the police can arrest you for driving under a drug's influence while at your comfort in the car or home. In that case, it will be hard for the prosecutor to convict you because they did not see you drive, despite having been under the influence of a drug.
Blood Testing and Detection
DUID investigation starts at a traffic stop. Suppose the arresting police suspect that you are driving under the influence of a drug. In that case, you will be asked to do several things for the police to determine if you were indeed under the influence of alcohol.
- The DUI investigation officer will ask you questions related to drug abuse or the use of alcohol.
- The investigation officer will do an alcohol screening using a breathalyzer.
- The officer will look for any physical symptoms that can show that you are intoxicated and
- The investigating officer will look for any traces of drugs in your vehicle.
If there is a reasonable cause for the officer to arrest you, they will ask you to give a blood sample for testing. The test is meant to confirm the presence of a drug in our blood system. If you refuse to do the drug test, there are consequences that you will have to face, such as suspension of your license and enhancement of your penalty is that you will be convicted for driving under the influence of a drug.
If you are charged for DUID after you are involved in an accident, you become unconscious, and the police officers will get a warrant for you to be tested for drug presence in your blood even if you do not like it.
Drug Evaluation Steps
During the investigation for DUID, there are steps that the drug recognition expert will ask you to follow to evaluate you.
- The officer will confirm that blood alcohol concentration does not indicate any alcohol impairment.
- The drug recognition expert will interview the investigating officer who arrested you.
- The expert will look for any physical symptoms that show the uses of drugs such as pupil size, pulse rate, muscle tone, and any trace of drugs in your mouth.
- Eye “Tracking Exam” is done. It is a test that, at times, indicates the use of drugs.
- Sobriety tests will then be conducted whereby you will be asked to stand on one leg, walk and turn, among others.
- You will be questioned about the use of drugs at the same time, and the expert will be observing you closely and
- You will be asked to do a urine or blood test.
The Trial Process
Testifying by the Police Officer
The trial begins with the investigating officer testifying a probable cause that led to your arrest. Some of the facts that the arresting officer will testify are:
- You were driving the motor vehicle in an unsafe manner.
- You had physical symptoms of intoxication.
- Your performance during the sobriety test and the breath test.
It means that everything you may have done wrong to make the arresting officer think that you were indeed under the influence of a drug.
The Drug Recognition Expert Testifies
The testimony provided by the drug recognition officer is the most crucial one in the DUID casein California. The drug recognition expert will prove that:
- Your impairment was not only as a result of alcohol alone
- You were indeed driving under the influence of a drug
- You were under the influence of a specific category of drug
Penalties for Driving Under the Influence of A Drug in California
Convictions for DUID are a misdemeanor if you are a first, second, or third convict. It becomes a felony conviction if:
- you are charged for the forth and subsequent conviction
- You have prior convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol or any other DUI charges
- You injured a third party if there was an accident that you caused.
During the trial process, it is essential to involve an attorney to have the charges against you reduced if the case cannot be dismissed. Having a qualified attorney will convince the prosecutor to put you on probation and have you involved in community service when you are serving your sentence. If convicted for DUID, you will face the following charges:
As a first time convict, you will serve a jail term for six months. You will also pay a minimum fine amounting to $390.Your license will be suspended for six months, and you will be put on a mandatory probation program
If it is your second time to be convicted within ten years, you face a jail term for 90 days in the county jail. You will also pay a minimum fine of $390, and your driving license will be suspended. To have your license back, you will be required to complete a driving course under the influence program, and you are also likely to be put on mandatory probation while serving your sentence.
For a third time conviction, you will spend 120 to 1 year in jail and pay a fine whose minimum is $390. Your license will also be suspended for three years. To have your driving license reinstated, you will have to complete a DUI class under the influence program. You will also be put on mandatory probation as you continue serving your sentence.
You will be charged as a felony convict if it is your fourth time to be convicted within ten years. Penalties for felony convictions are harsh, and you will therefore face a jail term for 16 months, 2 years, or even 3 years in jail. An alternative penalty is serving a 180 days jail term and payment of a minimum fine of $390. Your license will also be suspended for four years, and you will have your criminal records in the public database.
If you have previous convictions for any DUI charge, you will face a jail term for one year and pay a minimum fine of $390. You will also have your license suspended for four years and have your criminal records in the public database.
To have your license back, you will have to fulfill some conditions, including installing an ignition interlock device in your car and providing proof that you have car insurance. You will also have to complete a DUI program to have your license back.
Drug Diversion Program for DUID Charges
If you are charged for driving under the influence of a drug, you will not be eligible for the diversion program. With a qualified attorney from California Criminal Lawyer Group, you can have your charges dropped or file a plea for being under the influence of a drug. The filing of a petition will allow you to participate in a diversion program if you are a first time offender. Some of the diversion programs that you can enroll if you are a first time offender are:
- PC 1000drug diversion
- Proposition 36 and
- California drug court
The above programs give you a chance to participate in a counseling and education program. If you complete the programs, then there is a likelihood that your case will be dismissed.
Penalties You Will Face for Refusing to Take A Chemical test
It is usually a personal decision to accept or refuse to take a blood or urine test when arrested for DUID. If you refuse to take a drug test, you will face some consequences that include:
- An automatic suspension of your driving license for at least one year
- A Mandatory jail sentence for 48hours
Although there are many legal defenses for DUID charges, it can be challenging to defend the refusal charges if you refused to take the drug tests. If you are a first-time conviction and you did not injure anyone, you may evade the jail term sentence. If you have a previous conviction for driving under the influence, it will be considered a repeated criminal activity.
Consequences for Driving While Addicted to A Drug
California law makes it illegal for you to drive while you are a drug addict. It is a DUI crime with penalties as those of a DUID convict. You will only get an exemption if a specialist approves the drugs you are using for a particular illness. To be convicted of driving while you are a drug addict, the arresting police do not have to prove it by a test, but your actions and behavior are enough for the arresting officer to have probable cause for your arrest. The prosecutor will then charge you after the chemical results are out. The chemical tests will give a real picture of whether you were using the drugs illegally under a doctor’s prescription.
Other Charges for Driving Under the Influence of a Drug
Driving under the influence of a drug is a criminal act in California. You will therefore have your records in the public database. Having your records in the public database will affect you in different ways. You will not have an easy time securing a government job, getting a residential house, and you end up losing your professional license, hence challenges in earning a living.
When convicted for DUID, there are also high chances that you will pay higher insurance premiums for your vehicle. The factors that will determine the much more you will pay for your insurance premiums are gender, place where you live, age, your driving history, and your prior convictions.
Suppose your license has been suspended, and you want it back. In that case, you will be forced to buy a certificate that you have minimum liability coverage required by California's law before the reinstatement of your license.
Criminal and Administrative Penalties for DUIs
Two branches of the California government will charge you for driving under the influence of a drug. The judiciary handles the criminal penalties, and the executive branch handles the suspension of your license through the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
The consequences of the two branches may not seem to be different. The only difference is that the DMV is the one that gives you the right to drive, and it also suspends your license. The DMV helps in rehabilitation because when you go for some time without a license, you will change your behavior for the better for it to be reinstated.
Charges That Relate to Driving Under the Influence of A Drug
If the police officers arrest you for DUID, there is a likelihood that there are other charges that you will be charged alongside the DUID charges. Some of the additional expenses that you will get convicted for are:
Drug Trafficking Offense
If you are pulled over by the police and after the search in your car, they find out that you have some drug; you will be charged for drug trafficking. It is illegal to have drugs in your vehicle, and there are low chances for you to convince them that you were not to do a criminal act with them. You will therefore be charged with trafficking and driving under the influence.
Drug Possession Criminal Offense
If the arresting police find drugs in your car, they will arrest you, and you will be charged for possessing the drugs. It will depend on the amount of drug that will be found in your car. The reason being there is an insignificant amount that cannot lead to your arrest. If a usable amount is found in your possession, you will face harsh penalties as a felony convict.
Vehicular Manslaughter Crime
If you caused an accident for driving under the influence of a drug, you would be charged with vehicular manslaughter in addition to DUID charges. This is a serious criminal act that has severe penalties. Therefore, it is crucial to have a well-experienced attorney to defend the case on your behalf to evade the harsh punishments.
Driving While Addicted to a Drug
California law prohibits you from driving while you are aware that you are a drug addict. The investigating officer does not have to prove that you are an addict, but as long as your arrest you were drugged, that is enough reason for them to convict you for driving while addicted to a drug.
Legal Defenses to DUID Charges
For the prosecutor to convict you for DUID, they must prove that you were operating the vehicle under the influence of a drug and that your ability to operate the motor vehicle was impaired. Therefore, the charges are harsh, and you need an experienced attorney to challenge the case by presenting a legal defense to have your charges reduced, or the case dismissed.
Some of the legal defense that the attorney will present to defend your case are:
Lack of Probable Cause for the Arrest
If the police had no reasonable cause to stop and arrest, then the evidence that the police will present against you will be barred, and your case will be dropped. If your right is also violated during the arrest, your attorney can help you file for a petition to dismiss your case. After filing the petition, an investigation will be done to investigate the matter. If proven that there was no probable cause and that the police violated your rights during the arrest, then the charges against you will be dropped. If it also happens that you were arrested and after the drug test, the results show a negative, your case will be dropped.
The Drug in the System Does Not Equal Intoxication
There are some instances where the police can arrest you for intoxication, but the drug traces in your blood does not impair your ability to operate the vehicle. You may also have some drug traces in your blood, but it doesn't correlate to the influence. The reason being body size and type of metabolism affects the level of drug in the blood and hence the impact on your ability to drive
The Drug Impairment was a False Sign
It is not a guarantee that the evidence that is brought forward by the arresting officer, drug recognition expert, and witnesses is strong enough to convict you. Many factors may result in a drug test. For example, illness, allergic reactions, medication, injury, among others. Your attorney will defend the case by arguing that the drug traces in your blood are as a result of other factors and not from abuse of a drug.
Faulty Equipment for Testing the Drug Level in Your Blood
The equipment being used by the police to test your blood may be faulty, leading to false drug test results. Other factors that may make the equipment produce false drug tests are contamination, improper use, and wrong calibration. If it is determined that the equipment used was faulty, the charges against you will be dropped, and the case dismissed.
The Police Did an Unlawful Traffic Stop
For the arresting police to pull you over at a traffic stop, they must have a probable cause as to why they are doing so. If they arrested you and there was no probable cause, then the evidence provided before the court may be nullified. Your attorney could argue that the traffic stop was an unlawful one and that the police did an unwarranted search. The defense by your attorney can help reduce your charges or have your case dismissed.
What About the Use of Marijuana?
The most crucial aspect that will make you get charged for driving under the influence of a drug is impairment. If using Marijuana as a medical prescription from a physician, you will still be charged for driving under the influence of a drug. It is a similar case that applies to the use of narcotic painkillers. The reason being, as long as the drugs impair your ability to drive, then it means you cannot control the motor vehicle as required by the law. You will therefore be charged like any other criminal and face similar charges. However, you can challenge the case against you by involving an attorney who will prove that you needed the drugs even when operating the motor vehicle. It was a prescription and not illegal use of the drug.
Find A DUID Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me
Driving under the influence of a drug is a criminal offense that has severe penalties such as suspension of your license, immigration consequences, jail term, among others. The penalties can be life-changing and can limit your ability to care for your loved ones. If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of a drug in San Jose, California, it is wise to have legal representation. In that case, you will have your case defended by a professional.
California Criminal Lawyer Group has attorneys who are ready to represent you in any DUI case. Contact us through 408-622-0204 and have the best legal representation for your criminal charges.