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State senator seeks to tighten California DUI drug charges

Posted on in DUI Drugs

A California lawmaker is proposing a form of zero tolerance rule to driving under the influence of medications under California law. The measure proposes to make any detectable amount of any drug listed in California's schedules of controlled substances would suffice to bring California drugged driving charges against a driver.

The Santa Ana, California state senator says that the proposal would make an exception for medications that are duly prescribed by a doctor and taken in accordance with the medically prescribed dosage. The exception reportedly would account for medical marijuana law in California.

Some commentators compare the drugged driving proposal to the legal limit to drive set for alcohol. California law presumes that a driver is impaired at an alcohol level of 0.08 percent blood alcohol concentration. However, the measure proposes to give law enforcement and prosecutors the ability to bring DUI charges based upon any detectable amount Class I through IV drugs and medication for drivers who have no prescription.

This blog has previously discussed issues that can arise in toxicology tests involving certain drugs. A drug test may detect a trace amount of a substance in a person's system long after the effects of the drug are no longer present. In other words, a driver may be sober and have a toxicology test detect a sufficient amount of a substance to satisfy the statutory requirements under the proposed change to California's DUI laws.

The senator says in a news release that, "If you have drugs in your system, you should not be on the road," according to NBC Los Angeles. The bill has not seen debate yet-it is expected to go to a committee next month before being scheduled for a hearing. Similar measures have previously been proposed.

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