Can I be convicted of DUI for taking Prescription Medications or Over the Counter Drugs?
You can be arrested for DUI in Los Angeles for driving under the influence of Drugs. What some people do not know is that you can be arrested for driving under the influence of medication for which you have a lawful prescription.
California Vehicle Code 23152(a) states that “It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle.” The law applies to any drug that can impair your ability to drive whether it is legal or illegal.
To prove that you are in violation of Vehicle Code section 23152(a) the Prosecutor must prove that:
1) that you drove a motor vehicle, and
2) that you were under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs at the time you drove.
Element one can be satisfied by even a slight movement of your vehicle. Ordinarily the Prosecutor establishes this through testimony of a police officer who saw the Defendant driving, another witness who saw the Defendant driving or the Defendant’s admission that he or she was driving. The element may also be established through circumstantial evidence such as a Defendant sleeping in a vehicle which is in the roadway or a Defendant in or nearby a vehicle that has been in an accident.
The second element requires that the Defendant be “under the influence” this is when as a result of taking drugs, "your physical or mental abilities are impaired to such a degree that you no longer have the ability to drive with the caution characteristic of a sober person of ordinary prudence under the same or similar circumstances"
Put simply you are under the influence if you cannot drive the same way a sober person would. This element is typically proved by officer testimony, or testimony from another witness, regarding erratic driving; the officers testimony about a Defendants physical manifestations of intoxication, i.e. watery bloodshot eyes, slurred speech etc.; the Field Sobriety Test performed by an officer and an examination performed later at the police station by a DRE or drug recognition officer; and finally the results of a urinalysis or blood test.
No one of these factors is conclusive by itself. A jury can consider them all to determine whether a Defendant was “under the influence.”
An example of otherwise legal medications that may effect your ability to drive in the manner of a sober person are:
PAIN KILLERS/ PAIN RELIEVERS
Narcotic Pain Medications, Buprenorphine, Buprenex, Butorphanol, Stadol, Codeine, Hydrocodone, Hydromorphone, Dilaudid, Dilaudid-5, Dilaudid-HP, Hydrostat IR, Levorphanol, Levo-Dromoran, Meperidine, Demerol, Methadone, Dolophine, Methadose, Morphine, Astramorph PF, AVINZA, Duramorph, Kadian, M S Contin, MSIR, Oramorph SR, Rescudose, Roxanol, Nalbuphine, Nubain, Oxycodone, OxyContin, Roxicodone, Oxymorphone, Numorphan, Pentazocine, Talwin, Propoxyphene, Cotanal-65, Darvon, Tapentadol, Nucynta, Butalbital, Femcet, Fioricet, Esgic, Esgic-Plus, Butalbital, Fiorinal, Butalbital, codeine, Fioricet with Codeine, Hydrocodone and Ibuprofen, Hydrostal IR, Vicoprofen, Pentazocine/Naloxone, Talwin NX, Narcotic Analgesics, Capital with Codeine, Margesic #3, Phenaphen with Codeine, Tylenol with Codeine, Dihydrocodeine, DHCplus, Hydrocodone and Acetaminophen, Allay, Anexsia 5/500, Anexsia 7.5/650, Dolacet, Dolagesic, Duocet, Hycomed, Hydrocet, Hydrogesic, HY-PHEN, Lorcet 10/650, Lorcet-HD, Lortab, Panacet 5/500, Panlor, Stagesic, T-Gesic, Ugesic, Vicodin, Zydone, Oxycodone and Acetaminophen, Endocet, Percocet, Roxicet, Roxilox, Tylox, OPANA (Oxymorphone). Pentazocine and Acetaminophen, Talacen, Propoxyphene and Acetaminophen, Darvocet-N 50, Darvocet-N 100, E-Lor, Propacet 100, Dihydrocodeine, Synalgos-DC, Aspirin and Codeine, Empirin with Codeine, Hydrocodone and Aspirin, Damason-P, Lortab ASA, Panasal 5/500, Oxycodone and Aspirin, Endodan, Percodan, Percodan-Demi, Roxiprin, Pentazocine and Aspirin, Talwin Compound, Propoxyphene, Darvon Compound-65, PC-Cap, Propoxyphene Compound-65
Flexeril, Soma, Skelaxin, Zanaflex, Carisoprodol, Metaxalone, Orphenadrine, Ultracet, Fioricet, Zanaflex, Naproxen, Ultram, Naproxen, Ibuprofen, Sodium, Acetaminophen (paracetamol), Tramaden, Zanaflex, Methocarbamol (Robaxin), Lioresal, Ketorolac (toradol), Celecoxib (celebrex)
In sum you can be arrested for DUI simply for driving under the influence of pain medication prescribed to you by a doctor or physician. If you are arrested under these conditions it is important that you hire a qualified criminal defense attorney to defend you. The criminal defense team at Strassburg, Gilmore & Wei stands ready to defend you if you are arrested for Driving under the influence of drugs or any other criminal offense. Our criminal defense attorneys are ready to serve you in Pasadena, Los Angeles and anywhere in Los Angeles County or Orange County. Please contact us for a consultation.