These days, everyone knows it’s illegal to drive drunk. Most people are even aware that you can’t drive under the influence of drugs. But did you know that driving while addicted to drugs is actually illegal -even if you’re not using them at the time? Here’s what you should know courtesy of San Marcos driving under the influence attorney Peter M. Liss.
Driving While Addicted to Drugs and California Law
Their are two main reasons that driving while addicted to drugs is illegal in California. First, many drug tests used to determine if a person has been using drugs cannot pinpoint when he or she was actually high -making it difficult for the prosecutor to prove that a person was actually under the influence of a drug at the time he or she was driving. Second, withdrawal symptoms for many addictive drugs are too severe for a person to operate the vehicle while going through the process. It’s important to recognize that this law does not only target those addicted to illicit drugs, but also addictive prescriptions such as Oxycodone.
Penalties for Driving While Addicted to Drugs
While driving while addicted to drugs charges are rarely prosecuted in court, those accused of being addicted to drugs may still have their licenses revoked by the DMV. In fact, the police will often refer you for a reexamination based on habitual drug use, so even if you have a medical marijuana card or a valid prescription for an opioid-based pain killer, you should not discuss these with the police without a San Marcos driving under the influence attorney present.
If you are formally charged with this crime, you will face the same penalties as anyone accused of drinking and driving and prior DUI convictions will count against you. This is why you need to take these charges seriously if you are accused of driving while addicted to drugs. Always insist on speaking with a top San Marcos driving under the influence attorney as soon as you are arrested and before speaking with police.
Fighting the Charges
Fortunately, there are defenses for this crime. The strongest defense is that the driver was going through an approved drug treatment program at the time. This is even written into the law itself, so if you have been attending a treatment program, you may not be subject to prosecution -be sure to tell your San Marcos driving under the influence attorney if you have been going to a recovery program.
Of course, a common defense to this crime is that you are simply not addicted to the drug. The legal definition of addition requires: 1) you to be physically dependent on the drug and subject to withdrawal symptoms if you discontinue its use, 2) you have developed a tolerance to the drug and must keep increasing your dosage, and 3) you are emotionally dependent on the drug and feel you must continue its use. This means that if you occasionally do cocaine or even shoot heroin once a year, you cannot be considered to be addicted to the substance.
Remember, there are defenses to driving while addicted to drugs. If you have been charged with this crime, please call (760) 643-4050 to speak with a top San Marcos driving under the influence attorney as soon as possible.
Creative Commons Image by Johnathan Silverberg