California Vehicle Code section 23152(a) addresses situations where a person
arrested, was under the influence of alcohol and/or a drug. In this context,
the term "drug" does not require that the drug be an illegal
one. (Vehicle Code section 312). Section 23152(a) also covers prescribed
drugs, such as Vicodin, Xanax or Oxycontin, which when taken with alcohol
or even by themselves can impair a person's ability to drive in the
manner of a sober prudent person.
To underline this point, the Legislature passed Vehicle Code section 23630
which states that: "The fact that any person charged with driving
under the influence of any drug or the combined influence of alcoholic
beverages and any drug in violation of Section 23152 or 23153 is, or has
been entitled to use, the drug under the laws of this state shall not
constitute a defense against any violation of the sections."
However, estimating whether an individual is under the influence of prescription
medication is complicated. Scientist and criminalists who study these
things, have not been able to accurately develop a quantative symbiosis
between the use of many prescription medications and driving impairment.
As a result, police departments will often rely on officers who have undergone
additional training (a drug recognition evaluator – DRE) to perform
a battery of tests on an individual suspected of DUI. Unfortunately, since
these tests are based on the officer's observations, the officer's
memory and motives can be unreliable. Further, every experienced DUI defense
attorney will tell you that sometimes a DUI suspects' statements can
be taken out of context or even fabricated to support an arrest and conviction.
If you have been charged with DUI for using prescribed medication in Temecula,
Murrieta, Lake Elsinore, Menifee, Wildomar, Hemet, Corona, Perris, Banning
or Riverside, you need the assistance of an effective and experienced
criminal defense attorney. Call my office immediately to
schedule a free consultation directly with me.