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What DUI Charges Apply When Driving Under the Influence of Drugs?

 Posted on March 27,2019 in DUI Drugs

Santa Cruz, CA drug DUI defense lawyerDriving under the influence of drugs can get a driver in as much trouble as driving under the influence of alcohol. In California, criminal charges related to the possession or sale of drugs can vary wildly, but when a person gets behind the wheel, they are likely to face serious consequences if they are intoxicated by any substance. Unlike alcohol, there is no legal limit for the amount of drugs a person can have in their system while driving, and if a drug test shows any amount of a controlled substance in a driver’s system, they may face DUI charges.  

The criminal charge of Driving Under the Influence refers to how a substance can affect a driver’s judgment and reaction time. The legal limit for a driver’s Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is .08%. For any BAC over that limit, a driver is presumed incapable of driving safely. While California law does not specify a legal limit for other drugs, including marijuana, a driver may be considered to be under the influence if they are intoxicated and unable to operate their vehicle safely. Controlled substances, prescription drugs, and even over the counter drugs can lead to a driver being considered intoxicated and charged with DUI, especially if these substances are combined with alcohol.

As with driving under the influence of alcohol, a first time offense for driving under the influence of drugs is a misdemeanor. A DUI conviction can lead to up to six months of jail time, fines well over $1,000, and driver’s license suspension for at least six months. This criminal offense will be on your record, which can be detrimental if your career requires driving in any way. 

The serious consequences demonstrate why it is important to secure legal counsel if you are arrested for driving under the influence. In order to convict you of DUI, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were driving while under the influence. However, it may be possible to challenge the arrest. An officer must have probable cause to pull someone over in the first place, and if there was no valid reason to do so, it may be possible to have the case dismissed altogether. Other potential defenses may include showing that an officer did not read you your Miranda rights or challenging evidence that was obtained or tested incorrectly.

Contact a Santa Cruz, CA DUI Defense Attorney

If you have been arrested and charged with DUI related to drug use, it is essential to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Our Santa Cruz DUI drugs lawyer can examine the circumstances of your arrest and determine your best options for defense. Call our offices at 831-426-5800 for a free consultation. 


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