Like driving under the influence of alcohol, driving under the influence of drugs is illegal in the state of California. However, there is no straightforward measurement for determining the degree of a person’s impairment under the influence of drugs that is comparable to the Breathlyzer.
As a result, a California police officer who suspects someone of driving while under the influence of prescription, non-prescription, illegal or even over-the-counter drugs may call in a Drug Recognition Evaluator. Also known as a DRE, this is a person who is trained to recognize the signs of drug use in a driver. The International Associate of Chiefs of Police and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration work together to train DREs.
How a DRE Works
Once a DRE arrives at the scene, they will perform a number of tests including the ones below:
- test of blood alcohol content
- eye exam
- field sobriety test
The person may also be questioned and subject to further testing.
There are several specific signs a DRE will look for to determine whether a person is under the influence of marijuana:
- odor of marijuana
- dilated pupils
- struggling with short-term memory
- elevated blood pressure
- elevated pulse
Based on the findings of the DRE, the person may be charge with DUID.
A DRE will testify in court against the person. It is possible to call this testimony into question, but doing so requires a skilled and intelligent DUID lawyer. We are Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange County’s Leading DUI Defense Law Firm, and Scott Henry is the area’s leading criminal defense lawyer. In a case like this, we can help.
A first-time DUID can result in a maximum of five years of probation, six months in jail, six months of license suspension, $2,600 in penalty assessments and a $1,000 fine, and a requirement to complete a drug treatment or DUI education program. Although the first-time charge is only a misdemeanor except in the case of extenuating circumstances, the penalties are not light, and they increase with further convictions.
Blood and urine tests are not conclusive in terms of pinpointing when a person used marijuana. They can only determine that a person has done so recently. It could have been several days ago, and the person may be unimpaired. However, driving under the influence of marijuana remains a problem in California with an estimate that 1 in 9 drivers will test positively. In the last decade, motor vehicle deaths connected with marijuana usage have tripled.
People may not consider the danger of over-the-counter drugs such as Benadryl, but these can lead to a DUID just as illegal drugs such as cocaine, heroin and PCP can. Different drugs have different effects on a person’s behavior and their driving. For example, methamphetamine may increase a person’s aggressiveness while fatigue may result from sedatives. The result of drugs such as “bath salts” can be unpredictable.
The Scope of the Problem
Based on a 2013 survey by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, around 9.9 million people drove in the previous year while under the influence of drugs. An aging population means more people are using prescription medication, and less restrictive laws on marijuana use means that the incidence of people driving under its influence is likely to rise as well. A person who is charged with DUID should contact an attorney.
For more than 8 years, attorney Scott Henry has worked on criminal defense cases. His passion for defending people accused of criminal charges and his knowledgeable approach gets great results for his clients. He has many years of experience with DUI cases. If you need an attorney for your DUID charges in the areas of Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange County, give Scott Henry a call today.
At the Law Firm of Scott D. Henry, we offer legal representation to drivers who are charged with a DUI. As all drivers in the State of California should know, anyone can be arrested and charged with the crime of driving under the influence. Drinking too much and then choosing to drive a car, bus, or truck on a public roadway in California is against the law.
Where Can Drivers Be Charged for Driving Under the Influence?
Enforcement of the law for driving under the influence extends to private property in all 50 states, which includes California. It is not uncommon for law enforcement officers to watch intoxicated motorists on private property and pull them over to do a sobriety test. The California Vehicle Code gives law enforcement permission to protect the public against drunk drivers anywhere a vehicle can be driven. Despite a 1992 challenge, California’s law held up.
Advice and Consequences Around Driving Under the Influence
While the standard advice of “Don’t drink and drive!” can never be said too many times, it does sometimes happen. A taxi ride home may cost $50, but that is substantially less than a trip to jail, the hospital or even the morgue. Even a misdemeanor first offense in California will ring up fees of around $10,000, which are separate from an attorney’s legal fees. A first conviction for driving under the influence in California comes with a fine of up to $1,000 and additional penalty assessments of up to $2,600. After conviction, a person may also face up to 6 months in jail and 3 to 5 years of probation. Driver’s licenses are suspended for 6 months and the court requires that drivers attend and pay for classes about driving under the influence. For very high blood alcohol levels, the crime may be escalated, which leads to harsher penalties. Anyone facing these charges should promptly consult an Orange County criminal defense lawyer.
Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyer
People can also be charged with a crime for driving under the influence while on military or federal park property. While in California’s beautiful national parks, many people enjoy having a few beers. If those drinkers choose to drive, they can be charged with federal driving under the influence. A vacation to Yosemite, Death Valley, Sequoia or Joshua Tree National Parks are not worth a trip to jail. Federal driving under the influence laws stipulate:
- The driver is impaired by alcohol, drugs, or both, making it unsafe for the driver to operate a motor vehicle.
- The alcohol content in the blood or breath is 0.10 grams or more of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood.
Conviction for a federal driving under the influence is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and up to six months in a federal prison. Probation may be incurred for up to 5 years. Refusal to submit to a driving under the influence test may result in lost driving privileges. The California Department of Motor Vehicles will be notified of a driver’s refusal to a breath test and the driver’s license may be suspended for one year.
Protecting Your Rights
When a person is arrested for driving under the influence, it is important to contact a criminal defense legal representative as soon as possible. No matter whether you are a member of the military or a civilian, an arrest for driving under the influence can affect the rest of your life. Any arrest for driving under the influence in California will lead to state charges under California law. The prosecutors must still prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. An attorney can help to protect your rights. We offer legal representation for state and federal charges for driving under the influence in California.
Our legal representation can help you to protect your rights under the law. Our Orange county DUI defense attorney will explain the charges against you in a way that you understand and represent you in the courtroom. We are Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange County’s leading driving under the influence defense law firm. Call us at the Law Office of Scott D. Henry today to schedule a consultation.