Orange County Drugged Driving Defense Attorney
Unlike an alcohol DUI charge that relies on a BAC test, a DUID charge relies on the personal observation of an officer, as well as a blood and urine sample to determine if you "failed" the drug test. If you allegedly failed the test you are charged under California Vehicle Code 23152(a) for driving under the influence of drugs. For Orange County police, it is beside the point whether the drugs were legal prescriptions or illegal. The only issue that the courts care about is whether DUID affected your ability to safely drive your car.
According to Vehicle Code 23152(a) "drugs" means,
"Your physical or mental abilities are impaired to such a degree that you no longer have the ability to drive with the caution characteristic of a sober person of ordinary prudence under the same or similar circumstances"
To determine if you were DUID, a Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE) from an Orange County law enforcement agency with special drug training is usually brought to in to assess a DUID suspect. Unlike a DUI test, a DUID test usually takes place in a police station. The DRE is supposed to determine that your impairment wasn't consistent with your BAC, that you were DUID and not suffering from any sort of medical condition, and determined that you were under the influence of drugs.
Simply having tested positive for drugs in your system does not mean that you are guilty. After all, blood and urine tests are not always accurate. There are common mistakes made by police that result in:
- Contaminated medical equipment
- Incorrect blood draws
- Improper storage of the samples
- Improper handling of your drug test
Such mistakes could invalidate your test results and possibly lead to your case being dismissed. Similarly, while a toxicology screen typically reveals a drug's presence, it does not reveal its quantity; many prosecution drug experts won't even bother testifying against you because there is no scientific correlation between drug amount and impairment. As well, it is altogether possible that fatigue, allergies, illness, and/or nerves could make you "look" like you're DUID to the arresting officer, but of course many people suffer from such issues.
At Law Office of Michael L. Guisti, our OC drugged driving defense lawyers can challenge the "probable cause" that the police used to initiate your traffic stop that led to your DUID arrest. Police cannot pull you over simply because they have a "gut feeling." Police must have a concrete, valid reason for initially pulling you over. We can also find out if you were properly advised of your "right to remain silent."
If convicted of DUID, the judge considers factors such as whether you have prior DUIs, the circumstances of your case, and your criminal history. Most first time DUID offenders are sentenced to:
- 3 to 5 years of informal probation
- Minimum $390 fine (which, after penalties and assessments exceeds $1,000)
- Maximum of 1 year in Orange County jail
- Court-imposed driver's license suspension for at least 6 months
- Minimum 3 month drug education class
Also, if you refused to submit to a blood or urine test, the prosecutor may charge you with "refusing" to submit to a chemical test that adds a mandatory county jail sentence of at least 48 hours. Furthermore, if you are DUID of a specific drug that is prohibited under California Health and Safety Code 11550, you may additionally be charged with that offense as well. If charged, this requires a mandatory 90-day minimum jail sentence. However, unlike DUID, this charge allows a first-time offender to participate in a drug diversion program under California Penal Code 1000 in lieu of that jail sentence.
As you've read, DUID cases are highly complex. You need an experienced an OC DUI attorney who understands the complexities of the law. Rest assured that Law Office of Michael L. Guisti can handle your case in the best possible way to reduce your charges and even attempt to dismiss your case. Contact us at (714) 530-9690 now!
Whether you're facing a felony or a misdemeanor, don't risk a conviction. Act quickly to redeem your reputation and protect your record by consulting with our Orange County criminal defense lawyer. Call today to schedule your free consultation.