You may think of drinking and driving as the only basis for getting a DUI, but drugged driving can lead to charges as well— even if you have a prescription for the medication.

If you’ve been charged with driving under the influence of drugs in Folsom, call Walsh Law today. You have options to fight the charges against you, and our years of experience can help you keep your license and avoid jail time.

Call 916-237-8270 or contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

California Drug DUI Laws

According to California VC 23152(f), it is unlawful to drive a vehicle under the influence of:

  • Any drug
  • A combination of drugs or alcohol
  • Any drug you’re addicted to and not currently participating in an approved narcotic treatment program for

Under this statute, any substance that can impair your driving ability could lead to a drug DUI.

Common Causes of Drug DUI Charges in Folsom

California Vehicle Code 312 VC defines a drug as “any substance or combination of substances, other than alcohol, which could so affect the nervous system, brain, or muscles of a person as to impair, to an appreciable degree, his ability to drive a vehicle in the manner that an ordinarily prudent and cautious man, in full possession of his faculties, using reasonable care, would drive a similar vehicle under like conditions.”

Under this definition, you could be charged with a drug-related DUI for:

  • Illegal drugs such as hallucinogens
  • Legal drugs such as marijuana
  • Prescription drugs such as sleeping pills, barbiturates, or opiates
  • Over-the-counter medications such as cold medicine and antihistamines

Blood Testing and Implied Consent

If you’re pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence, police will look for signs of impairment or drugs in the vehicle.

Many police departments employ drug recognition expert (DRE) officers who receive specialized training to recognize signs of drug intoxication. If a DRE is present at your traffic stop, they’ll conduct an interview and an evaluation, including physical tests to check your eye movement and pulse rate.

If the officer finds probable cause and places you under arrest, they may request a blood sample to test for drugs in your system.

In California, when you obtain a driver’s license, you agree to undergo breath or blood testing if you’re arrested for DUI, a principle known as “implied consent.” Refusal comes with consequences, including the suspension of your driver’s license and potentially harsher penalties if convicted of the DUI.

Call a Folsom drug DUI lawyer right away if you’re arrested and asked to submit to chemical testing.

Criminal Consequences of a Drug DUI in Folsom

Since California DUI laws apply to both alcohol and drugs, the potential punishments for drugged driving are the same as for drinking and driving. A DUI, a wobbler offense, can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

Misdemeanor Penalties

Often, a first or second offense DUI is charged as a misdemeanor. Being convicted of a misdemeanor could carry penalties such as:

  • Three to five years of probation
  • A monetary fine of at least $390
  • License suspension
  • Up to a year in jail
  • Ordered completion of a DUI program

Felony Drug DUI Penalties

While many drug DUIs are misdemeanors, the offense can be charged as a felony if you’ve had four or more DUIs previously, a prior felony DUI conviction, or the DUI caused injury to someone else. Being convicted of a felony DUI can result in up to four years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000 if someone was hurt.

A criminal conviction for a drug DUI can change your life forever. That’s why it’s crucial to work with a Folsom drug DUI lawyer with experience in cases like yours. We’ll fight to minimize the chances of conviction and protect your rights through the criminal justice process.

Defending against a Drug DUI in Folsom

Defending against a drug-related DUI may involve several strategies. Some of the most common include:

  • Challenging the stop: If the police pulled you over without probable cause, any evidence obtained, including observations of impairment or a blood test, could be challenged.
  • Inaccurate or improper testing procedures: Errors can happen during blood or urine test collection or storage, affecting the accuracy of the results.
  • Drug detection window: this is the amount of time a drug is detectable in your system after use. Often, it is longer than the amount of time you feel high and can be affected by many factors such as weight, height, and metabolism. If a blood sample was taken during this window but you weren’t impaired, you may be able to argue against intoxication.

A drug DUI lawyer in Folsom can analyze the circumstances of your case and choose the best defense strategy to get your charges reduced or dismissed.

Folsom Drug DUI FAQs

Can I get a DUI if I have a prescription for the drug?

Yes, you can be arrested for a DUI, even with a valid prescription, if the medication impairs your ability to drive safely. If you’re unsure how a medication might affect your driving, it’s always best to err on the side of caution.

Is there a legal limit for driving after using drugs?

No. While the legal limit for blood alcohol content is .08%, there is no equivalent for drug use. The prosecution must prove you were impaired by drug use, regardless of the type and amount of substance alleged.

How is drug impairment determined?

Police may use several methods to determine if they have probable cause to arrest you for a drug-related DUI. They may observe physical signs of impairment such as slurred speech or ask you to perform field sobriety tests.

A drug recognition expert may also evaluate you. If probable cause is found and you’re arrested, tests of your blood or urine will be conducted to detect the presence of drugs in your system.

Can I get into a drug diversion program?

You may be eligible for a diversion program, especially if you don’t have a criminal history. If not, your Folsom drug DUI lawyer may be able to get your charges reduced or dismissed by negotiating with the prosecutor or going to trial.

Call a Folsom Drug DUI Lawyer Today

Even a simple mistake with a new medication can lead to DUI charges. With potentially severe consequences threatening, it’s crucial to work with a drug DUI lawyer in Folsom who has successfully reached favorable outcomes in similar cases.

At Walsh Law, our attorneys understand that being arrested and facing a DUI can be overwhelming, especially if you’ve never had prior legal trouble. We will analyze the details of your situation, explore all possible defenses, and fight for the best possible outcome.

Call 916-237-8270 today or contact us to schedule a free initial consultation.

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