When people think of driving under the influence (DUI), they tend to think that this means driving under the influence of alcohol when, in reality, DUIs also encompass situations in which a person is driving under the influence of drugs. If you or someone close to you was arrested for a drug DUI, it is important to act quickly in seeking counsel from a criminal attorney. These charges should never be taken lightly because they can have far-reaching negative consequences for many aspects of your life. San Diego drug DUI lawyer Roseline D. Feral can look into the facts of your case and protect your rights at every step of the way.Fighting a Charge of Drug DUI in Southern California
Unfortunately, drugged driving is more common than you may think. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 1.1 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics in 2015. Drugs other than alcohol (both legal and illegal) were involved in about 16 percent of motor vehicle crashes. With marijuana use on the rise, the CDC found that about 13 percent of nighttime and weekend drivers have the drug in their system.
The same statute that makes drunk driving a crime in California also covers drugged driving. Specifically, under Section 23152(f) of the Vehicle Code, it is unlawful for a person under the influence of any drug to drive, and it is unlawful for a person who is under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug to operate a motor vehicle. Under California’s drugged driving law, “under the influence” means that the substance ingested must have “affected the nervous system, the brain, or muscles as to impair to an appreciable degree” the person’s ability to drive safely. As a result, virtually any drug in your system, whether it is illegal, prescription, or even over-the-counter, can be grounds for a drug DUI if it impairs your ability to operate a motor vehicle properly. However, a drug DUI lawyer can help San Diego drivers present their side of the story.
When a person is arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, they must generally submit to a breath test. However, a breath test will not show the presence of drugs in a person’s body. Therefore, testing for drugs is typically done through a blood or urine sample. If you try to insist on a breath test instead, you may be charged with refusing a test, which is a crime in itself under California law. A person convicted of a drug DUI in California typically faces the same penalties that a person convicted of a first-time or repeat alcohol DUI would face.
Just because you have been charged with a drug DUI does not mean that you are guilty. There may be a number of relevant defenses in your case. For example, your San Diego drug DUI attorney can examine the circumstances under which blood or urine samples were taken, stored, and tested. If these measures are not taken in accordance with California laws, the blood or urine test may be excluded from the evidence. Another possible defense may be an alternative explanation for the behavior. For instance, you may have not been under the influence of drugs, but instead you may have simply been stressed, tired, or feeling anxious. We can examine your case and determine whether a defense may apply.Consult an Experienced Drug DUI Lawyer in the San Diego Area
Drug DUI charges should never be taken lightly. In fact, due to the severity of these charges, it is imperative that you find a qualified criminal defense lawyer to advocate for your rights as soon as you are charged with such an offense. With over 30 years of experience, Roseline D. Feral knows how to navigate these types of cases and build strong defenses for her clients. She helps people in cities such as Chula Vista, Coronado, Del Mar, Carlsbad, Encinitas, La Jolla, Oceanside, Escondido, Ramona, Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos, Valley Center, and Vista. To discuss a first-time or repeat DUI charge in more detail, you can contact us online, give us a call at 619-232-1010, or call Attorney Feral directly at 619-301-1191.