What Is A Drug DUI?
A drug DUI is punishable under California Vehicle Code Section 23152(f). This provision makes it illegal to drive with any drugs in your system, whether legal or illegal, if the drugs impair your ability to drive. In order to prove a drug DUI, the District Attorney must prove “actual impairment”. There is no “legal limit” for a DUI drugs as there is for alcohol. This makes a drug DUI a tougher case for the DA to prove. Whether the drug is legally prescribed or not makes no difference. The only issue in a drug DUI is whether the drug caused actual impairment. This means that the driver was impaired to the point he or she couldn’t drive with the same care and caution as an unimpaired driver.
How Does The DA Prove A Drug DUI?
The best evidence of actual impairment in a DUI drug case is some sort of “bad driving” that shows impairment. This includes weaving, wide turns, any sort of collision, or any sort of erratic movement. So if you were pulled over for an equipment violation, there usually is no bad driving to use against you.
The second best evidence of impairment is your performance on the field sobriety tests. Often, this is the only evidence of impairment the prosecution has to offer. This makes it a very difficult case for the DA to prove, especially if your performance on the field sobriety tests was not too bad. Since the officer’s version of your performance on the field sobriety tests is often biased and inaccurate, it is important for your DUI attorney to subpoena any video of you performing these tests. These days, it is common for the police car and the officer to be equipped with cameras and this footage can be vital to your defense in a drug DUI case.
Because drug DUIs can be difficult to prove, your DUI lawyer may be able to negotiate a reduction in charge in your case. This, of course, depends on the strength of the DA’s evidence.
What Is The Punishment For A Drug Dui?
The penalties for a drug DUI are the same as an alcohol DUI. Up to six months in jail for a first-offense DUI and up to a year for a second-offense DUI within ten years. However, an experienced DUI lawyer can often get an alternative to jail. The fines range between $2,300 and $10,000. There is also a mandatory alcohol program and a mandatory probationary period of three to five years. If the drug DUI is charged as a felony, either because someone was injured or because this is your fourth DUI in ten years, then the drug DUI can be punished by up to three years in the California state prison.
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