23152 (e) It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any drug to drive a vehicle.
California treats all forms of driving under the influence as equally severe, no matter what substance is involved. If you are suspected of a drug-related DUI, you will be charged under 23152(e).
It’s important to know that any drug is considered grounds for a DUI. This includes:
- Illegal drugs
- Prescription medication
- Over the counter medication
The most common drug involved in DUI’s is probably marijuana. California considers marijuana to impair your driving, even if you don’t feel impaired. Its effects are treated the same as those of cocaine, meth or LSD.
Among legal drugs, cough syrup, prescription painkillers, and anxiety medication may be seen as grounds for a DUI. Any medicine can count against you if it causes drowsiness or affect your nervous system or reaction time.
The police will assess whether you have a drug in your system based on a urine or blood test. The prosecution will rely in the test results in building a case against you. That means that a good DUI defense lawyer will target the test and look for ways to discredit it. This can include:
- The sample was not collected or stored properly under California’s rules for evidence collection.
- The lab that tested the sample did not follow all protocols required by the state.
- The lab did not have the correct licensing and accreditation at the time they conducted the test.
Your lawyer will also review the arrest itself. Did the police have a valid reason to stop you? Did they search your vehicle without permission? Did they follow all procedures for the arrest and read you your rights before questioning you? Any mistake on the part of the police could strengthen your case.
You can learn more about drug DUIs here.
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