Thursday, December 13, 2012

Driving Under the Influence of Drugs in Orange County, California

Over the last few years there has been a significant increase in the number of cases filed by the Office of the District Attorney of the County of Orange, for alleged driving under the influence of drugs. A large number of these cases involve no alcohol at all.

 Many people think that it is perfectly legal to drive while under the influence of prescribed medication. This is certainly not true. Likewise, many people believe that if they possess a certificate allowing them to use and possess “medical marijuana” it is also legal to drive under the influence of it. This is also untrue. (Many also wrongly believe that it is also somehow legal to sell or give away their legally obtained marijuana. That’s a serious felony and is a topic for a different discussion.)

The fact is, that law enforcement is getting much more skilled at detecting the symptoms and the toxicology of drugs and are becoming much more aggressive in detaining drivers on suspicion of dui drugs, especially at night and on weekends. Likewise prosecutors are becoming more aggressive in filing these types of cases. They all have become emboldened by the results of recent statewide studies involving driving and drugs. A study conducted by the state Office of Traffic Safety titled, The 2012 California Roadside Survey of Nighttime Weekend Driver’s Alcohol and Drug Use, has been recently published. This was the first statewide survey aimed at weekend and nighttime driving. The findings are quite interesting.

 The overall prevalence of drugs in the system of all drivers tested was 14%, while the prevalence of alcohol in all drivers tested was 7.3%. Among the drugs tested, marijuana had the highest prevalence rate of 7.4% of those drivers tested. The prevalence of illegal drugs was, remarkably, the same as the prevalence for legal prescribed and over the counter drugs, 4.6%. This survey will likely be studied further. However, what is important to understand, is that law enforcement and prosecutors are looking even more closely at nighttime and weekend drivers. And they aren’t just looking for alcohol intoxication any longer.

It’s the Holiday Season. The nights are longer, the weekends are filled up with parties. Be careful out there. Get a designated driver. Call a cab. Remember many prescribed medications were not meant to be combined with driving.

We at the Law Office of Gene Dorney can help you if you are charged with driving under the influence of drugs. We have access to the most experienced licensed toxicologists who can test your blood for levels of toxicity to determine if there is enough in your system to impair your driving.  And, of course we offer skilled and knowledgeable representation in your case to get you the best possible outcome.

Remember, if you arrested for driving under the influence, driving on a suspended license, probation violation, or any other misdemeanor or felony, The Law Office of Gene Dorney at 949-675-4973 is here to help you.