Orange County Criminal Defense
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Orange County Drug DUIS

California Drug DUI Defense Lawyer

The vast majority of DUIs involve alcohol. However, a DUI can also involve driving under the influence of a controlled substance, such as marijuana or prescription drugs. Driving under the influence of a drug was formerly prosecuted under California Vehicle Code section 23152(a), which prohibited a person from driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Effective January 1, 2014, there is now a separate statutes for driving under the influence of a controlled substance — California Vehicle Code section 23152(e). If you or someone you know has been arrested for a drug DUI in Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange or San Bernardino County (including Irvine, Fullerton, Long Beach and Hollywood), you need to contact an experienced DUI defense attorney immediately.

Common drug DUI cases include:

  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Ecstasy
  • Methamphetamine
  • Prescription drugs, including Ambien and Vicodin

It does not matter if the drugs were taken legally or illegally. Drugs can be both prescription drugs and illegal controlled substances. The issue is whether a person’s driving ability is impaired by the drug use.

There are several differences between DUI drug cases and DUI alcohol cases, and only an experienced DUI defense lawyer should be representing you on a DUI drug case. For example, both charges carry the same penalty. However, in a drug DUI, the only charge the prosecution can bring is “being under the influence”, so a person’s driving pattern and field sobriety tests become the most important considerations as to a person’s innocence or guilt.

“Being under the influence” of a drug for the purposes of a DUI is not the same thing as “being under the influence” of a drug for the purposes of Health and Safety Code section 11550(a). If you are convicted of a drug DUI, you cannot take advantage of drug programs such as PC 1000 or PC 1210.

Drug DUI cases are usually more complicated than alcohol DUI cases, so it’s important to have a knowledgeable DUI defense attorney on your side. With offices in Long Beach, Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside, Murrieta and Newport Beach, Fred Thiagarajah has DUI defense experience in Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange and San Bernardino Counties.

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