In the state of California, Vehicle Code 23152(a) incriminates drivers who are caught driving under the influence. This law is widely acknowledged for its association with driving under the influence of alcohol; however, the stipulations of the vehicle code also apply penalties to drivers who operate a vehicle under the influence of drugs as well. By law, any substance – excluding alcohol – that is capable of affecting the nervous system of a person, or even their brain or muscles, will be categorized as a drug. As such, the definition of drugs for this purpose can include anything from illicit substances such as cocaine, all the way to prescription drugs such as Vicodin, or even over-the-counter medicines such as Tylenol PM.
Why You Need a San Jose DUI Attorney
Driving under the influence of drugs, which shall be referred to as DUID from here on out, requires investigation and prosecution – just as does driving under the influence of alcohol. The differences between the two offenses, however, are considerable. Specifically, suspected cases of DUID will be susceptible to roadside investigations conducted by an official drug recognition expert (DRE), who will use his or her training in an effort to identify any possible drug impairments.
Further complicating the cases of DUID is the fact that there currently does not exist a definitive percentage at which a driver’s blood alcohol content will be unquestionably considered over the legal limit. Unlike DUIs from alcohol that use the .08% marker, there is no all-telling number by which to go when it comes to making an arrest for DUID.
Given the highly sensitive nature of DUIDs, there is absolutely no room to mess around. Immediately after an arrest, persons who are suspected of driving under the influence of drugs need to align themselves with a San Jose criminal defense lawyer. Sans legal representation, there are simply too many windows of opportunity that a prosecuting attorney can take advantage of in his or her efforts to incriminate the defendant on trial.
The defense of an experienced San Jose DUID defense attorney, however, can significantly alter the trend of a case that might otherwise be traveling on a downward spiral. For example, the same aspects that make DUID cases particularly challenging are aspects that a skillful defense attorney can use to your advantage. Take, for instance, the lack of a definitive incriminating BAC level for DUID cases. The right defense attorney can effectively draw attention to a prosecutor’s inevitable inability to prove complete intoxication given the lack of standardization in the law’s incrimination.
How to Avoid the Penalties of a DUID Conviction
Driving under the influence of drugs can be charged as a minor or a felony offense depending on the specific circumstances of the situation. Generally, the penalties for DUID are the same as those issued to convicted defendants of standard DUIs. The harshness of the penalties that are ultimately sentenced to any given individual have more to do with the number of previous offenses in this area of the law. Defendants who are facing DUID for a second or third offense, as well as those whose offense includes additional aggravating circumstances, are likely to be more harshly penalized than first-time offenders.
Typically, DUID offenders in California will be sentenced to a probationary sentence of 3-5 years; fines totaling around $1800; mandatory DUI school; and driver’s license suspension. Certain offenders will also be sentenced to jail time, dependent on the county in which they were arrested and / or their prior criminal record. The seriousness of such offenses naturally warrants harsh penalties, as described above. This is not to say, however, that said legal consequences cannot be avoided. In fact, under the right defensive representation, there are a number of legal tactics that can be employed in attempts to eliminate the need for an official conviction.
If your San Jose DUID defense attorney can prove that the drugs that were found in your system at the time of arrest were not, in fact, adversely influencing your ability to drive responsibility, there may be reasonable cause to dismiss the case. Along the same lines, it can be argued that non-impaired symptoms such as exhaustion and anxiety can sometimes exhibit themselves in similar ways to the symptoms associated with drug impairment. Again, if it can be effectively argued that an arrest was made based on a case of mistaken symptoms of drug impairment, the legal case can no longer rightfully exist.
Contact Edward N. Ajlounty , Attorney at Law
California is widely recognized for the stiff penalties it imposes on persons who are convicted of driving under the influence of drugs. As such, it is imperative that anyone who has been arrested on suspicion of DUID in the San Jose area immediately take action to rectify the situation. The best way to do so is under the directive representation of a criminal defense attorney at my firm.
For well over 15 years, I have dedicated my professional career to aggressively defending drivers in the San Jose area who have been arrested for supposedly driving under the influence of drugs. I recognize the signs of an incompetent prosecutor, and I know how to effectively devalue weak arguments posed by the opposite party. In essence, I have what it takes to help you avoid conviction and the consequential penalties that go along with it. I urge you to contact my firm today to discuss the logistics of your case and the legal options available to you.