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DUI - Drugs - Marijuana

The legal definition of DUI of drugs is not limited to illegal drugs. Even some prescription medications can illegally impair ones ability to drive and therefore fits the definition of an illegal drug for the purposes of driving. This makes Driving under the influence of drugs difficult for many people to understand. For example, there was a case where a diabetic had accidentally overdosed on insulin and was found to be legally impaired (People v. Keith, 184 Cal. App. 2d 884, (1960)).

The California Vehicle code (Section 312) defines the term drug as any substance or combination of substances that impair the driver’s ability to drive in a way an otherwise sober driver would under similar circumstances. If a drug is incapable of impairing a driver’s ability, such as affecting the nervous system, brain, or muscles, it cannot be considered a drug in order to charge a driver with driving under the influence (Section 23152).

A person’s tolerance is also at issue, as scientific research suggests that a person can develop a tolerance to drugs (such as marijuana) and not have them impair their abilities. Another issue is that often a driver is arrested for and maybe even charged with driving under the influence before blood tests are administered or the analysis completed. This is common in cases where a BAC is below .08% and the police officers want to try to explain the driver’s objective symptoms.

There was one case (People v. Olive, 92 Cal. App. 4th Supp. 21), where a man was charged with driving under the influence after admitting a certain tea made him feel slow and heavy. Though initially dismissed, the appellate court reversed the decision and stated that the fact the driver was aware the tea impaired his motor functions at all was grounds to be charged.

A big question from marijuana cases surrounds urine testing. It is impossible to tell how long urine has been in the bladder. The presence of THC in urine does not conclude impairment because, depending on frequency of use and potency of the drug, THC can appear in urine for days to weeks after use.

A recent phenomenon is people “sleep driving.” People have stated they took a sleeping pill or sleep aid and went to sleep, only to wake up in jail. If you or someone you love has been accused of DUI of drugs or alcohol or a combination of both, you should contact a DUI attorney immediately. The DUI attorneys at DrunkDriverLaw have the skills and experience necessary to assist in defending you against these charges. In many cases, we have been able to get charges reduced or even dismissed. Contact us right away so we can begin attacking the prosecution’s case and help to protect your reputation and driving privilege.


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