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Driving Under the Influence of Drugs – How Do DUI Drug Cases Work?

— December 15, 2022

Driving under the influence of drugs can lead to fines and jail time.

When someone hears about a DUI, their mind instantly goes to alcohol. It’s easy to obtain alcoholic beverages, therefore even easier to get behind the wheel while drunk. Not to mention that too many people go against the law despite knowing the consequences. 

But DUI is short for “driving under the influence”, which goes beyond alcohol. It includes other substances, such as various types of drugs. Many people abuse prescription drugs, while others go for illegal substances. 

Driving after using drugs is very dangerous. Back in 2018, 12.6 million individuals drove under the influence of drugs according to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

So, how do DUI drug cases work? Here is all you need to know about driving under the influence of drugs. 

What is a DUID?

DUI is short for “driving under the influence”, and refers to a driving offense committed by people driving while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs. But what is a DUID?

It’s simple – a DUID means “driving under the influence of drugs”. 

Now, people mistakenly think that they can only be charged with a DUID if they drive under the influence of illegal drugs, such as marijuana or LSD. But this is not the case. In fact, any drug found in your system can give you a DUID if you drive while intoxicated. 

Drugs that can lead to a DUID charge include:

  • Illegal drugs or controlled substances
  • Marijuana (includes medicinal marijuana as well)
  • Over-the-counter medicine
  • Prescription medication (even when a prescription was given by a healthcare professional)

You will not have to worry about a DUID if you simply possess or use some of the drugs listed above. A DUID involves driving a vehicle following drug use. But keep in mind you might deal with other charges if you’re found with illegal substances on you. 

California has a pretty high rate of drug use. Between 2018 and 2020, there was an increase of almost 50% in amphetamine-related visits to the emergency department. Furthermore, the use of drugs has grown from 8.3% to 10.6%, with about 8% of the people in the state meet the drug use disorder criteria. Many addicts are a danger to themselves and others when they decide to drive, and they often hire a Santa Barbara DUI attorney when charged. 

What Happens If You’re Convicted of a DUID?

If you drove under the influence of drugs and you’re convicted of a DUID, you will be penalized for it. Your verdict depends on your situation. In general, a DUID conviction will include penalties like mandatory DUI education, time in jail, license suspension, fines, and fees, as well as probation. 

Penalties are even more severe if you’re not on your first offense. 

Moreover, DUID penalties can get worse in some cases. For example, if the authorities discover illegal drugs in your car, you might also be charged with drug possession. If you used any illegal substances like meth or cocaine, you can also be charged with illegal drug use. 

How Can You Be Arrested for Driving Under Drug Influence?

Man handing police officer his driver's license; image by Kindel Media, via
Man handing police officer his driver’s license; image by Kindel Media, via

It’s not hard for police officers to arrest you for driving under the influence of drugs. 

Let’s say that you smoked some marijuana or used some cocaine, then got behind the wheel thinking nothing bad will happen. However, you used more of the substance than intended, and now it’s hard to focus on the road or drive accordingly. 

Officers notice this and stop you in traffic, then check for any signs that you used intoxicating substances, like dilated pupils or your overall behavior. You may have to take a drug test to see what substances can be found in your system. Refusing drug testing can lead to charges. 

Unlike alcohol DUIs, where the blood alcohol limit is taken into consideration before you’re charged, a DUID could lead to a conviction, even if the amount used was minimal. 

Can You Defend Yourself Against a DUID?

There are a few things you can do if you’re charged with a DUID. 

First things first, you need to hire a lawyer who can help gather evidence of your potential innocence or the officer’s inappropriate behavior. 

Your attorney can check if the samples were taken, stored, and tested according to the procedures set by your state. If they’re not, your test results will not be valid evidence anymore. The lawyer can also argue that the amount of drugs found in your system wasn’t enough to affect your driving. They could also argue that your behavior was due to anxiety, stress, or simple tiredness.

Final Thoughts

Driving under the influence of drugs can lead to fines and jail time, and you do not want that. This is why it’s crucial to never use drugs before driving and to hire a good lawyer if you’re ever charged.

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