DEFENSES FOR DRUGGED DRIVING

DEFENSES FOR DRUGGED DRIVING

DEFENSES FOR DRUGGED DRIVINGDUID – driving under the influence of drugs – is a serious charge in the state of California. If you are convicted of DUID, it’s just like DUI. You can go to jail, your driver’s license will be suspended, and your auto insurance rates will go up. What is the precise definition of DUID? How can you defend yourself against a DUID charge? Keep reading – those answers are ahead.

Under California state law, you are driving under the influence of drugs whenever any substance (other than alcohol) impairs your ability to drive so that you cannot drive like a sober person. It does not matter if you are using cannabis, an illegal drug like cocaine, a legal prescription, or an over-the-counter medicine.

In the state of California, the penalties for a DUID conviction are similar to the penalties for a DUI conviction. In most cases, driving under the influence of drugs is a misdemeanor punishable upon conviction by up to six months in jail, three to five years of probation, a fine from $390 to $1,000, a six-month driver’s license suspension, and completion of a treatment program or DUI classes.

WHEN IS DUID CHARGED AS A FELONY?

In a few cases, driving under the influence of drugs will be charged as a felony. If the defendant injures someone – or worse – while driving under the influence of drugs, the DUID charge is a felony charge. If the defendant has three or more prior DUI, DUID, or wet reckless convictions – or one prior felony conviction on any of those charges – the new DUID charge will be filed as a felony.

Anyone who is facing a DUI or DUID charge – whether it is filed as a misdemeanor or as a felony – must obtain legal representation at once. If you are the person charged with DUI or DUID, contact an experienced Orange County DUI lawyer as soon as you can after your arrest. Do not make any statement or admission to the police – or sign any document – before consulting a DUI attorney.

What will an experienced DUI attorney do in your defense? What particular legal defenses can be offered in DUID cases? It’s important to know, because any California driver could be wrongly accused of DUID. You are about to learn what defenses can work and can keep you from being convicted of driving under the influence of drugs.

WHAT DEFENSE STRATEGIES CAN WORK IN DUID CASES?

An experienced DUI defense attorney will assess the details of the case and the charge against you. Your attorney will examine the tangible evidence – for example, the results of a blood exam if your blood was tested, or alleged drug paraphernalia that may have been found in your vehicle. If there were passengers or eyewitnesses, your attorney will want to obtain their statements.

After reviewing the charge, the evidence, and the eyewitness accounts, your attorney will craft an appropriate defense strategy. If your rights were violated in any way by the police – for example, if you were you were stopped without probable cause, or if your vehicle was illegally searched – your lawyer’s probable first step will be asking the judge to dismiss the charge.

If there is no evidence that your rights were violated by the police, or if your attorney’s motion to dismiss is denied, your attorney may recommend taking a plea deal. However, if you believe that you are innocent of DUID, you have the right to take your case to a jury and the right to ask that jury to acquit you. At a trial, your lawyer might offer to the jurors one of the following defenses:

  • You were not actually “under the influence” of any drug when the police stopped you.
  • A normal physical condition – like anxiety or fatigue – was misread as intoxication.
  • The blood and/or urine samples offered as evidence by the prosecution are contaminated.

WHAT CAN BLOOD AND URINE SAMPLES TELL US IN DUID CASES?

Blood and urine tests can indicate a drug’s presence but cannot tell us how much of a drug was ingested or when. The active ingredient in marijuana – tetrahydrocannabinol – can stay in the bloodstream for weeks after any sensation of “being high” has faded away. If you insist that even though a trace of drugs was found in your bloodstream, you were not driving “under the influence,” you might be acquitted.

That can be a successful defense in DUID cases. However, if you are accused of DUID and no drugs were involved in any way, you might instead argue that your allergies, fatigue, illness, or a “case of the nerves” led the police to believe mistakenly that you were driving under the influence of drugs. That defense might win, provided no drugs were found in your bloodstream or your vehicle.

In some cases, your DUI attorney may feel that your best defense against a DUID charge is to argue that the chemical test results are inaccurate or that your blood or urine samples were contaminated. Test results may be wrong due to contaminated lab equipment, improper storage or handling of samples, or blood being improperly drawn.

WHY ARE DUID CASES DIFFICULT FOR PROSECUTORS?

Unless the evidence against a defendant is simply overwhelming, a California DUID charge should almost always be contested. DUID cases are difficult to prosecute because there is no scientific way to “prove” that another person is “influenced” by a drug, yet the law asks a prosecutor to prove precisely that, and to prove it “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Given the impossibility of “proving” that someone was driving while high, it is not that difficult for a defense attorney to plant the seed of reasonable doubt in the mind of the jurors at a DUID trial. You must, of course, be represented by an experienced Orange County DUI lawyer if you are charged with driving under the influence of drugs in southern California.

You can’t represent yourself. A DUI attorney who routinely represents DUID defendants is already familiar with the law – as well as the science – that is involved in a DUID case. Your attorney has spent years learning the legal system, the rules, and the best way to represent defendants and protect their interests. If you are charged with DUI or with DUID, put that experience and knowledge to work for you.

 

Todd Landgren on Google