Driving Under The Influence – Drugs

It is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol in the State of California. Drugs can be any substance other than alcohol that affects your brain or muscles and you are considered “under the influence” when you are no longer able to respond in a way a sober person would in the same situation.

The term “drugs” can have a broad definition. It can be prescription medication, over the counter medication, or illegal drugs.

Driving under the influence of drugs is different than driving under the influence of alcohol. There is not a set level that determines if you are under a legal limit for drugs like there is for alcohol. It is up to the law enforcement agent to observe and determine if you are under the influence. Then, a blood test may be taken to confirm the presence of a drug.

A DUI Drugs charge is a misdemeanor but can be filed as a felony if:

  • you’ve had 3 prior DUI convictions within 10 years;
  • you’ve had a prior felony DUI conviction within 10 years;
  • an accident and injury occurred to another while you were under the influence.

Penalties for DUI Drugs

Typically, the punishment for a DUI Drugs conviction:

  • probation of 3-5 years
  • fines
  • completion of a DUI program
  • driver’s license suspension
  • possible jail time

Possible Defenses

  • your physical condition was mistaken for being under the influence
  • drugs in your system does not mean you were under the influence
  • testing sample is contaminated