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Fight Drugged Driving Charges with a Modesto DUID Lawyer – (209) 326-1533
In California, it is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs. Unlike measuring a person’s blood alcohol content, however, there is no simple, accurate way to measure the levels of a substance in a person’s system. A blood test is the most accurate measurement, but can be time consuming, difficult, and may not be bulletproof in court.
Drugs, according to California law, are considered as any non-alcoholic substance that has the ability to affect an individual’s brain, muscles, or central nervous system. Legal and illegal recreational drugs, prescription medications, and over-the-counter medications are all considered drugs by law. If a driver is impaired by a drug, regardless of what type of drug it is, they can be charged with a DUID.
How Do DREs Work?
Because of how unwieldy blood testing can be, many police officers rely on a trained Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE). A DRE is called when an officer suspects that a driver is under the influence of prescription drugs, over-the-counter-drugs, or illegal drugs. These evaluators are trained to recognize the signs of drug use for a number of substances and medications in drivers.
A DRE is called to the scene by officers, and will perform a number of tests, including:
- Testing blood alcohol content (BAC) levels
- Examining the driver’s eyes for signs of drug use
- Standardized field sobriety tests
- Taking the driver’s pulse
The DRE may ask the driver questions and may require further tests to predict what drug the driver is under the influence of.
DREs will also look for specific signs that indicate marijuana use. These signs are:
- Marijuana odor
- Dilated pupils
- Short-term memory difficulties
- High blood pressure
- Elevated pulse
The DRE can advise an officer regarding the driver’s drug use, and can offer a prediction for what substance they believe the driver to be under the influence of.
A DRE will be called to testify against you in court. Their testimony is considered strongly by the court, but it may be possible to discredit their testimony. An experienced DUID attorney can help you build a strong defense for your case.
Contact our Modesto DUID lawyer at the Law Offices of Mark Girdner today to start your defense.
DUID Penalties in California
A first time DUID is typically considered a misdemeanor, unless there are extenuating circumstances that will increase the severity of the charge. The penalties of a first-time DUID charge are heavy, and increase with further convictions.
The penalties for a first-time DUID charge are:
- Up to 6 months in jail
- Up to 5 years of probation
- 6 months of license suspension
- Up to $2,600 in penalty assessments
- Up to $1,000 in fines
- Mandatory completion of a drug treatment program or DUI education program
These penalties increase for each subsequent conviction, which is why it is especially important to have the assistance of a skilled and knowledgeable DUID attorney if you have prior convictions for drugged driving.
Concerns for DUID Charges
Blood testing is often used in DUID cases to prove the presence of drugs in the driver’s system, but these tests are not completely foolproof. Because some substances, such as THC, can linger for days or even weeks in a person’s system, it can be difficult to prove if a driver was currently under the influence of the drug. DREs are one method to support the results of a blood test, but they can make mistakes as well.
It is possible that a driver may test positively for an illegal or prescription drug, but not have been under the influence when they were stopped. In cases such as these, other forms of evidence will be vital for the prosecution to build their case. Your lawyer should plan to defeat these alternative forms of evidence when they develop a strategy for your defense.
DUID and Legal Drugs
Prescribed medications and over-the-counter drugs can also impair drivers. While it is not illegal to take these medications, driving while impaired by them is still illegal. If you take medication, look for labels that warn users of dizziness, drowsiness, disorientation, or that warn users not to drive or operate heavy machinery.
Prescription sedatives, muscle relaxers, and sleep aids can cause fatigue, as well as over-the-counter antihistamines and anti-nausea medications. When it comes to the DUID, the effect of the drug is just as important as the legality of the substance.
Common prescription medications that result in DUID charges are:
- Methamphetamines. This class of drugs can be used medically and recreationally, though recreational use is illegal. Commonly, they are used as treatment for ADHD and obesity.
- Sedatives. Sleep aids, such as Ambien, Lunesta, and others, can cause drivers to feel drowsy, lethargic, unfocused, or to lose consciousness. Sleepwalking is a side effect of these medications, and users may drive while sleepwalking or may fall asleep at the wheel.
- Codeine. A popular prescription painkiller, codeine cane cause drowsiness, dizziness, and slow reaction times. It is a highly addictive and commonly abused medication, which can increase the danger for users.
- Hydrocodone. Another popular painkiller, which is often known as Vicodin, hydrocodone causes lethargy and cognitive impairment. In small doses, it may not have any negative effects, but it also can build up in a user’s system as they develop a tolerance to the drug.
Build Your Defense with Modesto DUID Attorneys - (209) 326-1533
When faced with DUID charges, you don’t have a single moment to lose. Your freedom and driver’s license may be on the line, so it is critical to get aggressive defense that can fight for your rights. The Law Offices of Mark Girdner offers our clients passionate, effective legal defense. A former prosecutor, Attorney Mark Girdner has the know-how and deep legal knowledge to tackle even the most complicated cases.
We want to ensure that our clients can get the representation they need, so our offices can be reached anytime, day or night. Begin your case today with a free initial consultation and learn how we can help your fight.
Contact the Law Offices of Mark Girdner today by calling (209) 326-1533.