In California, cases involving driving under the influence of drugs are prosecuted similarly to DUIs involving alcohol. The law defines driving under the influence as a physical or mental impairment that prevents a motorist from driving with the same caution that a sober person would exercise under the same or similar circumstances.
However, there are a few key differences between DUI cases involving alcohol and drugs. Unlike DUI/DWI cases involving alcohol, there is no “per se” limit for drugs. The prosecution will try to introduce evidence of impaired driving patterns, physical signs and symptoms, field sobriety tests, or chemical analysis, if available.
Many drivers mistakenly assume that they cannot be arrested for DUI/DWI for driving while taking over-the-counter medications or drugs prescribed by their doctor. The truth is that when it comes to driving, California law does not distinguish between legal and illegal drugs.
A skilled DUI/DWI defense attorney can often prove that the proper investigative procedures were not followed, or that the signs and symptoms of impairment were inconclusive, meaning they could just as easily mean that the driver was not impaired.
A conviction for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can carry devastating consequences. The best way to lessen the impact of a DUI/DWI charge is to consult with an experienced DUI/DWI defense attorney.