In California a person can be arrested, charged and convicted for driving under the influence of prescription, over the counter medication or drug in violation of California Vehicle Code section 23152, subdivision (a). In fact, any substance which the California Superior Court concludes causes impairment may support a driving under the influence conviction. One such conviction occurred after the driver drank tea which caused him to feel drowsy.
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Attorneys for the firm represent clients accused of driving under the influence of alcohol or driving with a blood alcohol level at or above the legal limit in San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin, Alameda, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, Sonoma and Napa counties.
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In California driving under the influence of medication cases, the second misdemeanor drunk driving with alcohol violation is not charged by the District Attorney. Accordingly, lawyers from our office need only defend against a single misdemeanor charge. However, in some respects driving under the influence of medication cases are more serious than drunk driving cases because if convicted, the superior court will report the conviction to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The superior court's notification will trigger a minimum one year DMV driver's license suspension. Additionally, unlike a drunk driving case involving alcohol, the Department of Motor Vehicles will not issue a restricted driver's license.
In DUI medication cases, the use of expert testimony can be cruicial. Our firm of San Francisco DUI lawyers has extensive experience defending clients arrested for driving under the influence of medication. In our view, these cases require immediate consultation with a forensic toxicologist, pharmacologist, physician or other expert. Additionally, a retest of the blood seized by the California Highway Patrol officer, local police officer or county deputy sheriff is usually required. Otherwise, conviction for driving under the influence of medication is a near certainty.
Remember, there are risks to taking prescription or over the counter medication prior to driving. Additionally, some medications do contain alcohol which can present special problems to drivers under 21 years of age because of the California zero tolerance law which punishes underage drivers for driving with any measurable amount of alcohol on their breath or in their blood. For drivers over twenty-one years of age, it is important to remember that driving after having taken medication can cause impairment within the meaning of California Vehicle Code section 23152, subdivision (a), which will support a driving under the influence conviction and a lengthy DMV license suspension.
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