Drug usage can impact an individual’s ability to safely operate a vehicle in California. For this reason, individuals with drug addiction, that drive, can face criminal charges under California Vehicle Code Section 23152(c): Driving While Addicted.
The Simmrin Law Group can help you learn more about VC 23152(c) charges. Use this article to review:
- The Definition of Drug Addiction in California
- The Penalties for Driving While Addicted
- The Legal Defense for VC 23152(c) Accusations
Driving While Addicted in California
Residents of California may be prosecuted under VC 23152(c) if they:
- Operated Their Motor Vehicle
- At Such a Time as They Were Addicted to a Drug
You should note that this charge does not require an individual to be presently under the influence of a drug when operating a vehicle. Merely suffering from an addiction is enough to lead to VC 23152(c) charges.
Additionally, VC 23152(c) charges do not apply to individuals who are taking part in an approved narcotics treatment program.
Defining Drug Addiction
It is useful to understand California’s definition of drug addiction when discussing VC 23152(c) charges. An individual may be considered addicted to drugs if they are:
- Physically Dependent on a Substance to the Point That Deprivation Leads to Withdrawal Symptoms
- Tolerant to the Effects of the Substance and in Need of More Potent Doses to be Impacted
- Emotionally Dependent on the Substance with a Compulsive Need to Continue Using It
All of these factors must be true in order for an individual to be considered addicted to a drug in California.
Results of a Conviction for Driving While Addicted
The penalties for driving while addicted vary depending upon whether it is a first time or subsequent offense. A first-time conviction in the court system in California can lead to fines, along with:
- License Suspension: At Least Six Months
- Drug Education Class: At Least Three Months
- Informal DUI Probation: Up to Five Years
- Jail Time: Up to Six Months
These penalties grow more severe for subsequent DUI convictions. Note that convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs all count as DUI violations. This means that if a driver is arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and then driving while addicted, the driving while addicted charge would count as a second DUI offense.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
We mentioned earlier that individuals can be charged with driving while addicted even if they are not currently under the influence of drugs. Vehicle Code Section 23152(f): Driving Under the Influence of Drugs is used to prosecute this action.
This charge only applies if an individual is found to be using drugs at the time they are pulled over.
Other DUI Charges in California
We’ve discussed DUI charges tied to drug use in the state of California. The court also uses a number of unique charges to prosecute drivers who operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. These charges can include:
- California Vehicle Code Section 23136: Under 21 DUI with Any Measurable Amount of Alcohol
- California Vehicle Code Section 23140: Under 21 DUI With Blood Alcohol Content Between 0.05-0.07 Percent
- California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a): Driving Under The Influence Of Alcohol
- California Vehicle Code Section 23152(b): Driving With A Blood Alcohol Content Of 0.08 Percent Or Higher
- California Vehicle Code Section 23152(f): Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
- California Vehicle Code Section 23153: DUI Causing Injury
These charges may all be priorable, resulting in higher penalties for each subsequent conviction.
Defenses for Driving While Addicted Charges
You can get legal advice on the best way to handle a driving-while-addicted accusation by contacting a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer. Getting professional help quickly allows your lawyer to thoroughly investigate your situation. Based on their findings, a lawyer could work to show:
You Are Not Experiencing a Drug Addiction
As we mentioned, the state of California has a specific definition of drug addiction. If you do not meet the full qualifications for drug addiction, you cannot be convicted under VC 23152(c).
You Are in an Approved Drug Treatment Program
California makes exceptions for drivers who are enrolled in an approved drug treatment program at the time of a driving-while-addicted arrest. If you are seeking help with your addiction, you could be able to avoid a VC 23152(c) conviction.
Stand Up to VC 23152(c) Charges with a Legal Professional
California Vehicle Code Section 23152(c): Driving While Addicted charges can lead to fines and other serious penalties. Get help resolving these charges in your favor by contacting the Simmrin Law Group. You can easily reach our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers to get a FREE consultation.
Call us at (310) 997-4688 or complete our online contact form to get started now.