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Prescription DUIs & Drug DUIs & Marijuana DUIs

Proven Approach with results forged by Experience. 

As a former prosecutor of almost 10 years, I can tell you drug DUIs are a lot tougher to prosecute than alcohol-related DUIs. This is especially true with prescription drugs.

Prescription meds come with a host of issues. First, these are not street drugs but medicines prescribed by a doctor. Second, there is a tolerance factor.

The is not whether the drug is legal or illegal, prescription or over the counter. “It doesn’t matter,” he said. ” If it’s an impairing substance, you’re going to be arrested for DUI.” You want to have your defense ready. In my experience, the prosecution will be confident in a drug DUI if it has an accident or hit-and-run tied to the event.

Let’s use an example of someone driving into a checkpoint to go into the issue of drug DUIs. How do you know if what you are seeing is a result of the meds (red eyes at 2 a.m.) or just being up past bedtime? This is much more difficult for the officer in the field to determine because there is no scent of alcohol. I imagine every person heading in the checkpoint tired is going to look like they are on drugs. When you move past alcohol to drugs it becomes tougher to show the person is under the influence. Therapeutic drug levels become subjective because someone may have built up a tolerance to that particular medicine. Officers may be trained in alcohol DUIs, but very few are “DREs” or drug recognition experts. The officer may form an opinion without the proper training and experience.

These are a few of many issues that are out there with drug DUIs. It is key you contact my firm at 858-429-9982 so you can be proactive in your defense.

Growing Trend

“It’s the new DUI here in San Diego County. In short, alcohol arrests are going down, drugged driving arrests are going up.”

This not whether the drug is legal or illegal, prescription or over the counter. “It doesn’t matter,” he said. “If it’s an impairing substance, you’re going to be arrested for DUI.”

If you or someone you love is charged with a prescription drug DUI or other crime you need to call my office now at 858-429-9982 for a free consultation.

Remember, whether the charge is a drug DUI or alcohol-related DUI, the checkpoint must be lawful. Can I get a DUI for driving while on drugs?

Drug DUI Defense Overview

Yes. The main issue in a DUI is whether you are under the influence. This is not limited to alcohol but may also include drugs such as controlled substances (ex: cocaine or heroin), prescription drugs (ex: Adderall or Ritalin) or marijuana, which can be both a controlled substance and a prescription drug.

Prescription Drugs

While prescription drugs are legal, there may still be ramifications for driving while taking prescription drugs. The following are some common questions regarding prescription DUIs and a little about prescription drugs.

Can I get a DUI if I have a prescription?

Yes. Although you may have a prescription, you may still get a DUI depending on the drug and the amount in your system. There are two levels of the drug: the therapeutic level and the abuse level. If you have a level of prescription drugs in your system that shows abuse, you may be charged with a DUI if you are impaired due to the medication.

Common Prescription Drugs

Adderall: Adderall is an amphetamine, which is the same base as the street drug methamphetamine.

Xanax: Xanax is a benzodiazepine, a psychoactive drug.

Ritalin: Ritalin is a methylphenidate, which is a stimulant.

Oxycontin: Oxycontin is an opiate, which is the same base in heroin.

Ambien: Ambien is zolpidem, and is a sedative or hypnotic drug.

Controlled Substances

Controlled substances are illegal, and you can be charged with a DUI for driving while under the influence of a controlled substance. The following are a list of some controlled substances and their effects on driving.

Heroin: Heroin is an opiate pain killer, and is a controlled substance. Some side effects while driving include slow reaction time, reduced coordination, blurry vision or drowsiness.

Cocaine: Cocaine is a stimulant drug made from coca plant leaves. Some effects on driving include speeding, losing control of the vehicle, poor impulse control, suffering from fatigue or inattentive driving.

Methamphetamine: Methamphetamine is an amphetamine which is a stimulant. Some effects on driving include speeding, swerving, getting too close to vehicles, nervousness, disorientation, and the reduction of the ability to stop in time and adapt to changing driving situations.

Cannabis Or Marijuana DUIs

Cannabis sativa is a plant, from which the controlled substance marijuana comes from. When someone uses marijuana, they become high from the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) 9. This chemical leaves the body very quickly, usually within three hours. Once this occurs, the THC 9 turns into THC 11. It then breaks down into cannabinoids, which can take months to leave your system. When you have active THC 9 in your system while you are driving, you may be charged with a DUI depending on the level of THC 9.

Some side effects of marijuana while driving include impaired judgment and reaction time.

“Cocktail” DUIs

There are some instances where you may be under the influence of more than one drug or may combine the drug with alcohol. If you have only had one glass of wine, but also mix that with a drug that reacts with alcohol, you may be under the influence while not over the legal limit for alcohol. As with other DUIs, the issue is whether you are impaired by the combination of all the different substances in your body.

There is a host of issues in drug DUI cases, especially when someone has a prescription for the drugs. It is key to begin an examination of the evidence. Call my firm now for a free case evaluation at 858-429-9982. My firm’s results speak for themselves. Be proactive.