Driving under the influence of any drug is a crime. Referred to as DUID, DUI drugs, drugged driving, driving stoned, driving under the influence of marijuana or any combination of drugs. California Vehicle Code section 23152 states this offense has the same consequences as driving under the influence of alcohol. The law indicates the following:
- It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle.
- It is unlawful for a person who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle.
- It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any drug to drive a vehicle.
- It is unlawful for a person who is under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug to drive a vehicle.
Driving both under the influence of drugs and driving under the influence of alcohol are very similar. It affects your nervous system in a way where you are impaired and you are in an altered state of consciousness.
There is a difference between the two offenses when being charged.
Charged under the influence of alcohol. Having a blood-alcohol concentration, or BAC, at or above .08%; Vehicle Code section 23152b.
Charged under the influence of marijuana (Drugs). There is no offense to charge the suspect with. There is no blood-alcohol level (or if it is under .08%). The only way the DMV can suspend the suspects license is if the when the suspect refuses the chemical testing or if there is a BAC above .08%.The chemical testing between DUI drugs and DUI marijuana also have some differences. There is a standard test that is administered when tested as a DUI suspect, the breath test. A breath test will not show the presence of marijuana or drugs. Therefore, testing for drugs has to be administered by taking a blood test.
Important: A driver can be using marijuana legally with a physician prescription. However, if he or she is legally impaired they can be charged with driving under the influence of marijuana.
A “drug recognition expert” known as a “DRE” is usually called into the case when drugs are involved to examine the individual in question. A DRE can testify to the symptoms of drugs or marijuana and state the results of impairment.
The California drugged driving laws do not always involve illegal drugs, sometimes the drugs are over the counter products, Benadryl or Nyquil or any prescribed medicines. See ‘‘How Legal Drug Use Can Lead to a DUI or DWI’’.
There are several studies still being conducted by scientists to further research “driving under the influence of drugs.” More research needs to conducted to determine the following:
- Determine the degree of impairment (if any) from the amount of drugs consumed, including marijuana; or
- Determine the active life of the drugs in the blood (for how long it can impair the individual); or
- Identify individual tolerance to particular drugs.
For more information on the effects of marijuana on driving visit, “Marijuana and Driving.”