In the state of California, DUI pertains not only to drunk driving but also to drugged driving.
If a law enforcement officer pulls you over on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs, your driving privileges will be in jeopardy: If you are arrested, the DMV will take administrative action.
Just as the use of excessive alcohol in any form, including medication such as cough syrup, can impair your driving skills, so can taking a drug, whether you procure it illegally, over the counter or through a prescription from your doctor. Various kinds of pills, if used to excess, can make you nervous, dizzy or drowsy. They can adversely affect your judgment and concentration. In addition, drugs used in combination with alcohol can increase impairment.
Remember that it is illegal to drive in any state including California if your blood alcohol content level is 0.08% or higher. If convicted of driving under the influence of either alcohol or drugs as a first offender, you will lose your driver’s license for at least six months. The court will impose criminal penalties including fines, participation in a drug treatment program and possible jail time.
Although the Department of Motor Vehicles is only concerned with the suspension or revocation of your driving privileges, a DUI mark will remain on your record with the DMV for 10 years. If, during that period of time, you are guilty of subsequent violations, you can expect to receive more stringent penalties from both the DMV and the court.
If law enforcement stops you on suspicion of DUI, the officer can request that you submit to a breath or urine test. However, keep in mind that there may be an issue with the results, which could work in your favor. For example, testing may show a trace of marijuana, but it cannot determine exactly when the drug entered your system. This could raise other questions about the validity of your arrest. Explore your legal options at once to protect your driving privileges and ensure the best possible outcome for your drugged driving case.