Most people associate DUI charges with alcohol, which makes sense. Public awareness campaigns on impaired driving focused on alcohol, because it was easily obtainable in communities throughout California.

However, with the legalization of weed and the popularity of recreational drugs, it is important to know that DUI charges cover more than just the influence of alcohol. DUI covers any substance that may inhibit your ability to drive. For example, DUI includes substances such as marijuana, cocaine, oxycodone, Xanax and Ambien.

What does this mean for testing standards?

Most people know the current limit for driving is under .08% blood alcohol content (BAC). However, how would an officer test for legal or illegal drug use while driving?

Essentially, the police would need to evaluate the driver by conducting a physical examination of the driver. Additionally, after the driver is arrested, the officers would obtain a blood or urine sample to test for any drugs, including marijuana and legal prescriptions.

California is an implied consent state – which means if you drive a vehicle, you automatically agree to submit tests of your breath, blood or urine as a condition of being granted driving privileges on state roadways. If you refuse the test, it results in more penalties, such as:

  • a license suspension regardless of the charge’ outcome
  • more severe penalties for DUI conviction, such as higher fines or more jail time

The penalties for driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) charges are extremely similar to a standard DUI, but there are different arguments to fight drug presence in your body: such as some substances stay in the body weeks after intake or a blood test doesn’t necessarily state whether the amount of drug would cause impairment.

To determine the best approach, you need to analyze your specific circumstances and where you can craft the right argument for your situation.