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California Drugs DUI

For many years, driving under the influence was associated with one thing: alcohol. In recent times, there’s been an uptick of another type of DUI: driving under the influence of drugs (DUIDs).

If you have been arrested for a drug DUI in Los Angeles, call a DUI lawyer right away.

On the surface, DUIDs are quite similar to alcohol-related DUI. In either circumstance, it’s illegal for a person to drive a vehicle while impaired. What’s not similar, however, is how these two types of cases unfold after a person has been pulled over.

Drivers caught driving while under the influence of drugs can face:

  • Jail Time
  • Fines
  • Fees
  • DUI Classes
  • License Suspension
  • Other expenses that can exceed $10,000
  • Embarrassment from a damaged reputation

Don’t let your case get away from you. Los Angeles DUI attorneys Artz & Sturm Law Group will look at the elements unique to your situation to help you assess a strategy that’ll provide the most beneficial outcome possible.

What Constitutes a Drug DUI?

A drug is any type of substance that affects your mind, muscles, or nervous system. If your ability to react and drive correctly on the road is impaired, you are driving under the influence. This is a large category, including:

  • Illegal drugs (cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, etc.)
  • Prescription drugs, particularly those that come with a warning label against driving or operating machinery
  • Over-the-counter drugs that can inhibit your ability to drive safely when used alone or when combined with alcohol
  • Marijuana, which used to be illegal but now is legal for recreational use in California. However, it is not legal to drive while high.

In DUI cases involving alcohol, the prosecution has a standard to go by—0.08% BAC.

In drug DUI cases, however, there is no quantitative threshold that determines when a driver was under the influence. Although blood samples are taken to determine the type of drugs in the suspect’s system, there is no number that can be used in court to say someone was impaired as a result of those substances. Instead, the prosecution has to rely heavily on:

  • Observations made by the arresting officer
  • Expert witnesses’ testimony

What Happens During a DUID Arrest?

The officer will ask the driver to submit to a field sobriety test (FST). The driver may be asked to take three or four different field sobriety tests, including:

  1. Romberg Balance Test
  2. Walk-and-Turn Test
  3. One-Leg Stand Test
  4. Finger-to-Nose Test

If an officer suspects you’re under the influence of something other than alcohol, he or she will likely call a drug recognition expert (DRE) to the scene or to the police station. DREs are law-enforcement professionals who are theoretically trained in determining if a person is under the influence of narcotics. Using a 12-step evaluation process, the DRE will complete a full investigation—usually in a well-lit area, such as a police station, as opposed to on the side of the road, where typical DUI investigations occur.

The problem is, even these specially-trained officers can’t truly detect how affected a person’s driving is—if at all—from drugs. This is one reason it’s important to hire an experienced DUI lawyer who will challenge the investigation at the station based on the Fifth Amendment. You have the right to refuse to answer questions to avoid incriminating yourself. The police must prove they warned you of the right to remain silent post arrest if the evidence is challenged by the defense.

Drug DUI Defense: Why It’s Important to Hire an Attorney

If you’ve been charged with a drug DUI, you should know the prosecution often faces an uphill battle. Even if your blood samples show you had a drug in your system at some point prior to your arrest, it does not show that you were affected by the drug at the time you were stopped.

The prosecution will try to use the observations the officer made about your driving and the field sobriety tests to prove its case. This is circumstantial evidence, and as your attorneys, Artz and Sturm will fight to ensure the jury understands this. By law, the jury must vote “not guilty” if the prosecution can’t prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Circumstantial evidence seldom removes reasonable doubt in DUI drugs cases, but you’ll want an attorney to argue your case on your behalf.

The Artz & Sturm Difference in DUI Drugs Cases

Artz & Sturm always retain drug experts on cases that have to go to trial. They present facts that are developed at trial, and many times, there will be a reduction of charges—possibly even a dismissal.

Prosecutors know Artz and Sturm will go to trial for their clients, and most of the time, they win. When faced with a completely circumstantial case and attorneys who are willing to go to battle for their clients, many prosecutors will settle on lesser sentences. It takes an experienced team of attorneys who are not afraid to fight for your rights!

If you’ve been arrested for a drug DUI in Los Angeles, seek the assistance of an expert DUI lawyer right away. You can reach Artz & Sturm Law Group at (310) 820-1315, or by filling out an online form.