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Yes, there is a Difference between Drunk and Drugged Driving

California laws prohibit a driver from operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs, alcohol or a combination of both substances. Laws include prescription medications like Valium and Xanax. By state law, DUI prescription medication is referred to “impaired driving.” It does not matter if you have a valid prescription to use the drug or not. In fact, there are many prescription drugs that are commonly associated with DUI arrests like:

  • Anxiety medications.
  • Painkillers.
  • Antihistamines
  • Antidepressants.

No Blood Alcohol Concentration for Drugs

Drunk driving and drug-impaired driving are often lumped into the same DUI law. However, the enforcement for each law is different. California Vehicle Code defines a driver being over the legal limit to drive as having a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher. Prescription drugs are not subjected to the state’s blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, law of 0.08 percent.

One critical difference between being under the influence of drugs or alcohol is this following:

  • Police cannot use the same DUI methods to detect intoxication as a result of drug consumption as they do with alcohol intoxication. Therefore, there is no mandatory minimum level of being under the influence of drugs, or drug-impaired driving.

No Accurate Method for Testing Drug-Impaired Driving

To determine the level of alcohol intoxication, police use field sobriety tests and chemical testing. This isn’t the same process for determining drug-impaired driving. Many DUI checkpoints use drug testing kits to determine the level of drug intoxication. These tests identify drugs in a person’s bloodstream using the driver’s saliva. In fact, the tests have the ability to pick up trace amounts of all types of prescription medications.

In addition to using saliva tests, blood tests are also used to determine if prescription drugs are in your system. Prosecutors will use the pill bottles found in your vehicle and any other things associated with your prescription against you.

Fighting Your Prescription Drug DUI Charges

How can the police accurately determine if you were driving impaired? How can police charge you with DUI when there is no mandatory limit? If you are accused of driving under the influence of prescription medication, contact a defense lawyer immediately to answer these and many other relevant questions. As you’ve read, there is a distinct difference between alcohol intoxication and drug intoxication. The difference may be a huge factor in determining whether you might be convicted or acquitted of DUI. You need a lawyer who knows how to fight DUI charges that involve prescription or illegal drugs. You need the help of the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin. Call today for your free consultation. Jonathan Franklin is a former prosecutor who now aggressively defends the rights of his clients to help them successfully resolve their matters.

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Contact Information

Jonathan Franklin DUI Attorney
6777 Hollywood Blvd Ste 508
Los Angeles, CA 90028
323-464-6700