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California Driving Under the Influence of Drugs Attorneys

Being arrested in California for driving under the influence of drugs can be frustrating, confusing, and even embarrassing. However, there is no reason for a person to be ashamed and there is definitely no reason for a person to make the mistake of failing to act quickly enough to protect his or her rights.

Defense attorney Daniel E. Kann knows how important it is for you to preserve your reputation, freedom, and your right to drive. Mr. Kann will act fast in building an effective defense for your case.

What is Driving Under the Influence of Drugs?

Driving under the influence, or DUI, is a legal term that refers to the act of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Under California state law, it is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs. A drug related DUI conviction can result in jail time, hefty fines, and loss of driver's license. Sometimes, drug possession charges and being under the influence of narcotics charges can be added on to a drug related DUI charge, thereby increasing the potential penalties.

Driving Under the Influence of Drugs: The Law

When a person is cited for driving under the influence of drugs, they will be charged with a violation of California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a) which states: "It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle." This includes not only illegal recreational drugs but also over-the-counter drugs and prescription medications which may be taken under a doctor's orders. It is a good idea to check the medication that you are taking to see if it has a warning label on it stating that it could make you drowsy. If it does have such a warning on it, then that is one indication that you could potentially be cited for DUI if found to be impaired due taking the medication while driving.

The Drug Related DUI Arrest

In drug related DUI cases, where a police officer suspects that the driver is under the influence of drugs and not alcohol, they will often administer a Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) test, which is a handheld breath test device that checks for the presence of alcohol in one's system, used by officers in the field to confirm their suspicion. If the results of the test show 0% alcohol in the driver's system, but the officer observes certain "objective" signs and symptoms of drug use such as red, watery eyes; thick, slurred, or rapid speech; profuse sweating; flushed face; white pasty tongue; and rapid pulse along with poor performance on field sobriety tests, the officer will arrest the driver on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs.

At this point, the driver will be subjected to either a blood test or a urine test to determine the presence, type, and amount of drugs in the person's system. In addition to the chemical test, the driver will often be evaluated by a "specially trained" officer known as a drug recognition expert (DRE) at the police station. DRE officers are trained to discern the general category of drug that a person has been taking; for instance, central nervous system stimulants such as methamphetamine or cocaine, or central nervous system depressants such as heroin, marijuana, or anti-anxiety medications such as Xanax or Valium. The drug recognition expert will also check for the above mentioned "objective" signs and symptoms of drug impairment and will write up a supplemental DRE report to be included with the police report.

The Drug Related DUI Trial

To obtain a conviction at trial, the prosecution must prove not only that the drug was present in the driver's system at the time of driving, but also that the driver was impaired as a result of being under the influence of the drug such that he or she could not operate a motor vehicle with the same degree of safety as a typical driver who is not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This can be a difficult obstacle for the prosecution to overcome, especially when the drug in question is a drug that can be detected in a person's system long after ingesting it and long after the effects have worn off. Some drugs that can be detected in one's system after the person no longer feels the effects of the drug are cocaine, which stays in a person's system for about 35 hours, and marijuana, which can be detected for up to a month after ingesting it. Alcohol, on the other hand, leaves the person's system almost as soon as the effects wear off. This is why drug related DUI cases are often much more difficult for prosecutors to prove in court at trial than DUI cases that involve alcohol.

Fortunately for our clients, we have a network of toxicologists who can testify as expert witnesses at trial with authority that while our client may have been found to have driven with a particular drug in his or her system, this does not necessarily mean that he or she was driving while impaired for the purposes of a DUI conviction. This gives us the ammunition that we need to argue to the jury that the prosecution has not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that our client was driving while impaired and that the jury should find our client “not guilty” of driving under the influence.

Fight Back by Protecting Your Rights

It is important to remember that just because a person has been arrested and charged with driving under the influence of drugs, doesn't mean that he or she is guilty. A skilled driving under the influence of drugs defense attorney will challenge the arrest and the police officer's determination that the defendant was under the influence of drugs and impaired at the time of driving. Although some officers are specially trained to spot a motorist who is driving erratically and who may be intoxicated, many officers are not properly trained when it comes to determining whether someone is actually under the influence of drugs.

Knowledgeable DUI defense attorney Daniel E. Kann will fight to challenge the allegations and help resolve your case. Mr. Kann will put his extensive knowledge of the law and the court system to work to help you obtain the best possible outcome in your case so you can move on with your life and put your arrest behind you. Call the Law Offices of Daniel E. Kann today to schedule your free and comprehensive consultation.