How Does California Define DUID?

Driving under the influence of drugs is on the rise in the entire World.  Similarly, in the U.S. today it is estimated that well over half the citizenry takes drugs , prescription or otherwise, on a daily basis. With that use it is almost certain that a huge segment of that group will be stopped by the police and suspected to be under the influence of the drug as it realtes to driving. When a defendant is charged with driving under the influence of a drug in california, a showing of a specific measurable amount of the drug in the defendant’s blood is not required say many well read legal scholars. The showing that must be made is that the defendant was under the influence.  Statewide, the term “drug” is defined in Vehicle Code §312 as any substance or combination of substances, other than alcohol, that could affect the nervous system, brain, or muscles of a person as to impair, to an appreciable degree, his or her ability to drive a vehicle in a prudent and reasonable manner. It does not have to be an illegal substance.  Conversely,  It is no defense to a charge of driving under the influence of any drug or the combined influence of alcohol and any drug in violation of Veh C §23152 or §23153 that the defendant is or has been entitled to use the drug under state law. For example in one case the defendant was convicted for driving under combined influence of alcohol and insulin. The critical issue is whether the defendant was under the influence.

Interestingly, the law provides that actual notice of each drug that constitutes a basis for prosecution under Veh C §23152(a) is not required if a person is reasonably made aware of the proscribed conduct, i.e., impaired driving ability resulting from the ingestion of some substance. As an example, the Courts found it was error to dismiss charge against defendant based on his consumption of Kava.  Very often, the law recognizes that a narcotic can often form the basis of a criminal case even though the officer does not initially suspect its use but it is later detrmined to show up in the person’s blood.  Furthermore, judicial rulings have established that no showing that thus the code says, was unconstitutional as applied to this defendant.  In closing, it is not necessary that the criminal complaint specify the particular drug that the District Attorney is alleging impaired the driver in any given DUI prosecution.

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