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Orange County, CA Criminal Defense Law Blog

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Impaired Driving is Illegal, Whether Due to Alcohol or Drugs

Most people might imagine those arrested for driving under the influence would be pulled over after drinking too much at a party or a bar. For increasing numbers of drivers their impairment has nothing to do with drinking and everything to do with using drugs, both legal and illegal.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that in a 2007 survey more than 16% of weekend, nighttime drivers tested positive for illegal, prescription or over-the-counter drugs, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). More than 11% tested positive for illegal drugs. A 2009 NHTSA study found 18% of fatally injured drivers tested positive for at least one illegal, prescription, or over-the-counter drug, according to NIDA.
California law was changed this year so that it distinguishes between those operating under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both. State law defines "drugs" as any substance other than alcohol that could affect your nervous system, brain or muscles. You would be considered “under the influence” if a drug impairs you to the point that you can no longer drive like a sober person under similar circumstances. It doesn’t matter whether the drug is illegal, over the counter or a prescription medication.

There are no current, reliable roadside tests for drug use by drivers. Due to that lack of equipment the investigation should be led by a drug recognition expert trained to spot drug impairment. This makes it even more critical that someone pulled over and questioned exercise their rights to legal representation and not to make any self-incriminating statements to law enforcement. 

The best way to avoid a conviction for driving under the influence of drugs is to not use illegal drugs and if you’re taking medications be aware of how they may impair your ability to drive. Ask your physician or pharmacist if a medication could impair your driving. Don’t take medications for the first time then get behind the wheel because you may end up being surprised when a police officer pulls you over.

DUI due to drug use is a serious offense which can have far ranging consequences.  If you have been arrested for DUI, call Orange County, California criminal defense attorney Mark Raymond McDonald at (888)686-7874 for a consultation today.

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2015
2014
December
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October
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August
Rapper Arrested in Orange County, California on Gun Charges
Further Changes to California’s Three Strikes Law
July
Change in California Criminal Law Likely to Reduce Deportations
Convicted Embezzler Receives Light Sentence Over Prosecution Objections
June
Lab Error in Methamphetamine Testing
New Mental Health Law Proposed After Tragedy in Isla Vista
May
Crowd Sourcing Law Enforcement - Can It Result in Criminal Charges against Innocent Parties?
Understanding California’s Implied Consent Law
April
March
The Impact of Additional Charges On a California Murder Case
"DUI" May Be a Matter of Opinion
February
Alternative Sentencing Options in the Orange County Area
Warrantless Cell Phone Data Searches: A Violation of the Fourth Amendment?
January
California Lawmaker Seeks Ban on 'Affluenza' Defense
Challenging the Accuracy of Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Test Results
2013
December
California Supreme Court Deals a Blow to DUI Defense
Guns and Weapons Charges in Orange County
November
October
Domestic Violence in California
An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney can Help you Through the Toughest Situations
September
California Lawmaker Supports U.S. Attorney General’s Stance on Drug Crime Reform
Irvine Murder Investigation Reopened
August
2012 “Crime in California” Report Just Released. What Does the Information Mean to Offenders?
Child Pornography and Child Molestation Charges and Sentencing
Nationwide Sting Highlights Law Enforcement Officials’ Focus on Sex Crimes
Motions: Paving the Way to Defense Victory
Sex Crime Charges in California: What Can You Expect Following a Conviction?
The New Three Strikes Law
Probation, Parole and Ankle Bracelets: What Does the Future of Electronic Monitoring Look Like?
July


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