Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID) in California
What constitutes "drugged driving" in Solano County, CA?
According to California Vehicle Code §23152(a), you could be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) if you are found to be operating a vehicle while under the immediate influence of drugs. Since the same law also regulates alcohol-impaired driving, it is important to understand that DUI of alcohol and DUI of drugs are essentially treated as the same criminal offense—thus resulting in the same legal penalties. The only difference between the two is the manner in which law enforcement will decide whether or not the driver is impaired.
Since an officer can choose to administer a breath test in order to determine whether or not an individual's blood-alcohol concentration is at .08% or above, it is typically easier to make a legitimate arrest for DUI of alcohol. Alternatively, there is no legal limit for DUI of drugs and no way for a law enforcement officer to test a suspected "drugged driver" in the field. For this reason, it may be necessary for a drug recognition expert (DRE) to examine the individual's behavior before making an arrest. These officers are asked to undergo specialized training, which subsequently helps them to recognize signs of drug-impairment in the field.
Once an arrest has been made, however, the suspect may be asked to submit a blood and/or urine sample for testing. Although they can refuse to cooperate, they cannot do so without consequence. Since California's implied consent law requires all drivers to comply with chemical testing at a law enforcement officer's request, one would be faced with a mandatory one-year driver's license suspension and a $125 fine if they decline to offer a sample. It is also important to understand that this would not prohibit a DUI arrest, as the prosecution can still offer the individual's refusal as evidence of their guilt.
If I refuse to take a drug test, can I still be charged with DUID?
Most people assume that they could prohibit a DUI arrest by simply refusing to take a drug test. While you do have the right to refuse, it is important to understand that your license would be automatically suspended for one year and you would be asked to pay a $125 fine. Additionally, the prosecution can still choose to pursue a case against you. Instead of using the results of a drug test against you, they could say that failure to cooperate is evidence of your guilt. For this reason, it usually wouldn't help your case to refuse a chemical test.
If you were to be convicted, you would be subject to penalties for both DUI and violating California's implied consent law. As such, it may be more beneficial to comply with a drug test and contest the results at a later time—as there are numerous ways in which you can undermine the validity of a blood or urine test.
Are the penalties for DUI of drugs the same as DUI of alcohol?
Since all forms of impaired driving are regulated by the same laws in California, you would be subject to the same penalties for DUI of drugs as you would for DUI of alcohol. It is also true that the penalties would be significantly increased for each subsequent offense.
For this reason, you should not hesitate to enlist the qualified assistance of our Solano County DUI attorneys at Maas and Russo if you hope to avoid the following legal penalties:
- First DUI of Drugs Offense: Up to 6 months in jail, $390 to $1,000 in fines, informal probation for 3 to 5 years & a 10-month driver's license suspension.
- Second DUI of Drugs Offense: Up to 1 year in jail, $390 to $1,000 in fines, informal probation for 3 to 5 years and a 2-year driver's license suspension.
- Third DUI of Drugs Offense: Up to one year in jail, $390 to $1,000 in fines, informal probation for 3 to 5 years and a 3-year driver's license revocation.
- Fourth DUI of Drugs Offense: Up to 3 years in prison, $390 to $1,000 in fines, 4-year driver's license revocation and designation as a HTO.
For the best possible defense against the aforementioned penalties, it is highly recommended that you contact a lawyer as soon as possible. When you come to Maas and Russo for guidance, we will review your case for free and get started on building the aggressive defense that you deserve.
Call our office today at (800) 483-0992 or submit a free case evaluation form online to learn more.