Under the Influence of Drugs Attorney in San Diego
Need a Lawyer for an Under the Influence of Drugs Charge?
While we know it is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs in California, many people do not know it is illegal to simply be under the influence of drugs. If you are found to be under the influence of illegal drugs, or in some cases legal prescription drugs, you can be convicted of a crime with serious penalties.
If you have been charged with drug use, speak to a San Diego criminal defense attorney right away. As a former LAPD narcotics officer, attorney James N. Dicks has special skills and experience when it comes to drug offenses. jD LAW, P.C. will work harder and smarter to get you the most successful outcome for your situation. Please call (760) 630-2000 immediately for a free consultation.
California Health & Safety Code Section 11550
According to California Health & Safety Code Section 11550, it is illegal for a person to be under the influence of illegal drugs or controlled drugs, such as certain prescription medications. In the case of prescription medications, a person can be found under the influence if he did not have a valid prescription in his name for the drug, or if it is found that he took a larger dosage than necessary.
When someone has been charged with being under the influence, it must be shown that the accused willfully used a controlled substance, or was willfully under the influence of a controlled substance.
The term "willfully" proves to be of great importance in defending against these charges. For example, if a drug was slipped into your drink and you unknowingly drank it, you could not be convicted of being under the influence because you did not take the drug willfully.
Proving an Under the Influence Charge
A charge of being under the influence will rely heavily on a DRE’s testimony. (A DRE is a Drug Recognition Officer who has specialized training in detecting whether or not someone is under the influence of drugs.) The DRE will begin by questioning you. During the interview, he or she will ask about your current and prior drug use. The DRE may also check your pulse, look at the size of your pupils, search for injection marks, and record other physical symptoms that could indicate drug use.
The testimony of a DRE is not always reliable. There are many other causes that could mimic being under the influence of drugs, such as being ill or having a physiological condition. A criminal defense lawyer can always challenge the testimony of a DRE.
The DRE, or other law enforcement officials, may also require you to take a blood test to detect illegal drugs. This is not always done; yet charges are still laid against you. The good news is when a blood test was not taken at the time of your arrest, it is extremely difficult for the prosecution to prove that you were under the influence.
The prosecution must also prove that you engaged in current use of the illegal drug or controlled substance, meaning you used the drug just prior to arrest. This is determined on a case-by-case basis, however; and your attorney should be able to discuss with you how this applies to your case.
Penalties for Being Under the Influence
Being under the influence of illegal drugs or a controlled substance is a misdemeanor. The penalty includes a minimum of 90 days and a maximum of one year in county jail. If you are convicted, you may also be placed on probation for up to five years, may be required to take drug counseling, and may face additional fines. You may, however, be eligible for a drug diversion program and not have to spend any time in jail.
If you have been charged with being under the influence, let jD LAW, P.C. fight for your rights in court and give you the best chance at a successful outcome. Contact us at (760) 630-2000 so we can start building a strong case for you right away. Your consultation is free.
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