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DUID vs. DUI: What's the Difference?

Written by: Doug Ridley

How California Differentiates Driving Under the Influence of Drugs from an Alcohol-Related DUI

When most people think about driving under the influence (DUI), they assume it means driving under the influence of alcohol. However, in California, a person can receive a DUI charge related to alcohol, drugs, or both. A drug can refer to any number of substances that impair your ability to drive, including illicit and prescription drugs. 

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of a drug (DUID), contact Ridley Defense immediately. Attorney Doug Ridley is a former District Attorney with extensive experience prosecuting drug-related offenses during assignments to the felony unit and narcotics unit. He knows how prosecutors think and will work with the courts to achieve a favorable disposition in your case. 

Call our office at (805) 208-1866 today to schedule your complimentary consultation. 

Understanding CVC 23152 (f) and (g)

Prior to 2014, California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a) made it unlawful for a person to drive under the influence of alcohol, drugs or under the combined influence of drugs or alcohol. An effort by state lawmakers to focus on drugged driving helped amend the Vehicle Code to separate driving under the influence of alcohol and driving under the influence of drugs.

Code sections 23152 (f) and 23152 (g)* were subsequently added to California Vehicle Code 23152 to state:

  • CVC 23152 (f) makes it unlawful to drive under the influence of any drug; and
  • CVC 23152 (g) makes it unlawful to drive under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs.

*These subsections were originally written as 23152 (e) and (f), but were changed with the addition of a DUI offense related to drivers of passenger for hire vehicles commencing in 2018.

How Alcohol-Related DUIs Differ from DUIDs

By separating the offenses, California lawmakers hoped to distinguish DUID cases from alcohol-related drunk driving offenses and make them easier to prosecute. Criminal penalties for DUI cases, whether they are alcohol or drug-related, are similar. However, what it takes to prove a person was “under the influence” of a specific drug can vary greatly.

Unlike alcohol, there is no per se legal limit for driving under the influence of a drug. Specially trained law enforcement must be used to determine whether a person has taken a substance that has impaired their ability to drive. Generally, this requires the use of a highly-trained drug recognition expert (DRE).

Additionally, unlike with alcohol-only DUI cases, a person suspected of driving while impaired by drugs can be required to submit to a blood or urine test in lieu of a chemical breath test (breathalyzer). 

What Is Considered a Drug?

It is important to note with any discussion about driving under the influence of drugs that a drug is not limited to illegal drugs. A drug can include prescription drugs, marijuana, over-the-counter drugs, or any substance that impairs your ability to drive a vehicle as an ordinarily cautious person would in similar circumstances. It is not a defense to DUID charges that the drug you took was legal or prescribed by a doctor.

Facing DUID Charges? Contact Ridley Defense Today!

If you are facing charges for driving under the influence of drugs, contact Ridley Defense to discuss your case. The sooner you retain our office, the more we can do to help! Early intervention can often prove invaluable in DUID cases.

Call (805) 208-1866 today to speak with our experienced legal team. We have represented clients from all walks of life, helping them get back on their feet after a DUI arrest. If you hold a professional license, we can help you protect your credentials and your future. Get started today with a complimentary consultation.

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