When people hear the phrase “driving under the influence” or “DUI” most people immediately associate it with driving after drinking alcohol or taking illegal drugs. The charge is not often associated with over the counter or legal prescription drugs. However, in California, if you take a prescription drug that impairs your ability to drive and you still choose to drive, you could be facing DUI charges.
Under California Vehicle Code 23152(f), “It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any drug to drive a vehicle.” The next section, 23152(g) adds that “it is unlawful for a person who is under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug to drive a vehicle.” When the term “any drug” is used, it means any substance that affects your brain, muscles, or makes you drowsy. If the drug, whether legal, illegal, prescribed, or over the counter, impairs your ability to drive safely you could be considered “driving under the influence.”
Driving under the influence can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony in California. Often, driving under the influence of drugs will be a misdemeanor offense, unless there have been prior DUI's or an accident with injuries. In such cases the DUI can be charged as a felony. Still, even as a misdemeanor offense, consequences can include DUI probation, fines, driver's license suspension, and even jail time depending on the circumstances.
Fortunately, it is possible to mount a strong defense if you are charged with driving under the influence while under the influence of prescription or over the counter drugs. It is important to consult with a skilled DUI defense attorney who can navigate your case for you and prepare a strong defense. Unlike alcohol where there is a specific level of impairment (.08 percent blood alcohol content or more), it is hard to measure the level of impairment caused by prescription drugs as they affect people differently. Therefore, a skilled defense attorney can implement several defenses including arguing that you simply were not under the influence or impaired for the purposes of a DUI conviction.
Here at the Kann California Defense Group, our DUI defense lawyers understand how a DUI conviction of any kind can take a serious toll your personal, financial, and professional life. If you or someone you love is facing a DUI charge of any type, contact our office to see how our skilled legal team can apply their years of experience to have your charges reduced or dismissed. Call our offices today at (888) 744-7730.