Driving under the influence. Drug Related DUI
In Los Angeles, most driving under the influence cases (Los Angeles DUI cases) involve drivers who are under the influence of alcohol. It is however possible to be arrested for driving under the influence of a controlled substance that is not alcohol. Prosecution for DUI in California is accomplished through California Vehicle Code Section 23152, a code section which does not prescribe a limit of any substance except alcohol in driver’s blood but instead criminalizes any “driving under the influence“.
JURY INSTRUCTION FOR DRUG-RELATED DUI
Driving under the influence is defined in CALCRIM 2110 as: “mental or physical abilities are so impaired that he or she is no longer able to drive a vehicle with the caution of a sober person, using ordinary care, under similar circumstances”. Previously, driving under the influence was charged by Los Angles DUI prosecutors as a violation of California Vehicle Code section 23152(a) and California Vehicle Code section 23152(b).
In a prosecution for Driving under the influence (DUI), the prosecutor must prove that the driver the impairment by relying on field sobriety tests driving or any other “objective symptoms” of impairment. Clearly, it is best not to submit to field sobriety tests and generally tell the investigating officer as little as possible.
In contrast, California Vehicle Code section 23152(b) was specifically related to the presence of alcohol in the bloodstream at a level of above .08% by volume. In contrast, California Vehicle Code section 23152(a) was a generic impairment charge that was not alcohol specific and was based on a driver being unable to operate a vehicle with a care of a sober person. Being under the influence of any drug or even medication was used to prosecute a DUI in Los Angeles under CVC 23152(a).
RECENT DEVELOPMENT: DRUG-RELATED DUI
Recent developments in the law separated any drug-related driving under the influence from subsection (a) of California Vehicle Code section 23152 and placed it into a newly created subsection (e) that broadly covers “any drug”. Further, the newly created subsection (f) authorizes prosecution for cases where a person is under the combined influence of drugs and alcohol. This law took effect on January 1, 2014, and is used now to prosecute numerous drivers who consume either drugs or drugs and alcohol.
DRUG-RELATED DUI: SCIENCE
The clear problems associated with any prosecutions under either of the new subsections is the inability to scientifically justify impairment. There is simply not enough research to associate a specific level of drug to an impairment. Moreover, some scientific research points to the exact opposite of impairment. For example, some narcotics, such as cocaine, increases concentration in subjects and was used to increase combat readiness in pilots during military exercises. Further, unlike alcohol, a well-researched substance whose influence was measured by various standardized field sobriety tests, drugs influence was not measured using similar techniques. Thus, although it is not hard to prosecute clear cut cases where a person is so impaired that he is unable to maintain the balance or to stay awake, there are plenty of cases where the prosecution is unfair and is based on pseudoscience.
Such prosecutions are generally harder for law enforcement not only because evidence is almost completely depended on police officer’s observations but also because most police officers are not trained to investigate Marijuana DUI or Drugs DUI .
DRUG-RELATED DUI: MARIJUANA DUI
Wall Street Journal on May 20, 2013, published an article titled “Blurry Line on Pot-DUI Cases”. In it, WSJ writes that only 1% of the nation’s police officers are trained to investigate Marijuana-DUI cases. For example, in Los Angeles, many DUI are prosecuted by CHP who do not generally get trained as drug recognition experts (DRE), an essential training for pot-related DUIs in Los Angeles.
Recently, the California legislature introduced a bill to make it a crime to drive with any measurable amount of marijuana regardless of level of impairment. If it passes, anyone who used marijuana in the past several weeks can be subject to DUI prosecution despite not being under the influence.
Los Angeles DUI attorneys specialize in defending all drug-related DUI in Los Angeles. Our practice is exclusive to DUI defense and we are often able to convince the prosecutors and judges to consider dismissing DUI in Los Angeles when it is clear that defendant’s prosecution is based on poor science.
If you are charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Los Angeles contact Los Angeles DUI attorneys, because you will need help convincing prosecution that you were not impaired. It is easy for prosecutors to ignore scientific evidence that marijuana DUI are a myth because there are no studies that correlated marijuana levels in the blood to intoxication and because field sobriety tests were designed for alcohol impairment. Attorneys in our law firm will fight to get a dismissal of any of your Driving under the influence in Los Angeles.