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DUI Involving Drugs - VC 23152(e)

DUIs involving drugs have increased recently in San Diego. Unlike alcohol related DUIs that may require a standard of .08 percent, there is no clear standard with prosecuting Drug DUIs. Even though there is no clear standard for impairment regarding Drug DUIs, the City Attorney and District Attorney remain vigilant in prosecuting these cases.

In January 2014, California enacted VC 23152(e). To prove that someone is guilty of this section, the City Attorney or District Attorney must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The defendant drove a motor vehicle; AND
  2. When the defendant drove a motor vehicle, he or she was under the influence drugs.

Drug recognition experts (DREs) are officers trained to identify symptoms of drug intoxication. They will arrive on the scene of a suspected DUI involving drugs and look for the following seven drug classes: marijuana, central nervous system stimulants, depressants, PCP, narcotic analgesics, opiates (for example, oxycodone and heroin) and benzodiazepines (e.g., Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin). If they conclude that the driver is exhibiting symptoms and they arrest the driver, a blood test will be taken. It is not a defense to argue that the person was legally entitled to use the drug.

Legality of the Stop:

Whenever a person is detained in a vehicle, the first step is to determine if the detention was legal. That is, was there reasonable suspicion to justify the traffic stop? A vehicle may only be stopped (detained) for the following reasons:

  1. Violation of a traffic law
  2. Erratic or irregular driving
  3. Equipment violation
  4. Legal DUI checkpoint
  5. Fits description of a stolen vehicle or involved in a crime

If you are under investigation or have been arrested for a DUI involving drugs, contact my office today – I will provide a free, confidential consultation.