Ambien is a prescription medication used to help individuals who have trouble sleeping. Ambien has valid medical uses, but drivers can face criminal charges if they take the drug before operating their vehicle in California.
You can learn more about charges for an Ambien DUI right here with the Simmrin Law Group. This article covers the definition of driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) charges in California. You can also review some legal defenses to Ambien DUID charges by calling us at (310) 997-4688.
DUID Charges and Prescription Medications in California
Some drivers believe that they cannot be arrested for a DUID if they used only prescription medication. This is not actually the case. In fact, drivers can be charged with a DUID anytime:
- They consume a chemical substance that
- Impairs their mental and physical abilities and
- They get behind the wheel and drive
Drivers impaired by a chemical substance may face criminal charges under Vehicle Code Section 23152(f). This charge applies to individuals using prescription medications as well as drivers who partake in illicit chemical substances.
The Impact of Ambien on Drivers in California
Ambien can severely impair an individual’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. Ambien is classified as a sedative and it is often called a sleeping pill. Taking Ambien can cause an individual to feel:
Individuals use Ambien to fall asleep, and it can lead to drivers passing out behind the wheel. Sometimes, Ambien usage can also lead to hallucinations. Hallucinations are more likely to occur if an individual uses too much Ambien, or if they try to stay awake after taking the drug.
Other Drugs Similar to Ambien
Ambien is only one example of a sleeping medication in California that can lead to DUID charges. There are many other sleeping medications that can cause drivers to operate a vehicle in an unsafe way. Examples of these drugs include:
Note that the above list is not a comprehensive accounting of all sleeping aids used in California. Drivers can be charged with a DUID for using any drug that will make them drowsy or confused before they get behind the wheel. If you are facing any DUID charge, you can get help now from a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles. Just call (310) 997-4688 to get started.
Results of a Conviction for an Ambien DUI
Ambien DUI convictions in California can result in dire legal repercussions. DUID charges are often treated as misdemeanors in California. A misdemeanor conviction can result in:
- Up to six months of jail time
- Up to six months of a license suspension
- Up to $2,000 in fines
DUIDs are priorable in the state of California. Each time a driver is convicted of an Ambien DUI – or any other DUI – they will face increased penalties. Drivers may also face felony charges if they:
- Have at least three prior misdemeanor DUI convictions
- Have one prior felony DUI conviction
- Injured someone while committing an Ambien DUI
Felony charges for an Ambien DUI can lead to up to three years of time in prison. Drivers may also have their license suspended for four years after a felony Ambien DUI conviction in California.
Focus on Defenses for Ambien DUI Charges
You have legal options if you are charged with an Ambien DUI in California, even if you fell asleep behind the wheel. Note that falling asleep is not generally considered a defense on its own, as individuals prescribed Ambien should be informed that it can cause drowsiness.
However, your DUI lawyer in Los Angeles may be able to demonstrate that:
- You were stopped illegally by a law enforcement officer
- You were not actually impaired by the Ambien
- You were not driving your vehicle at the time of your arrest
In many cases, a legal professional can get your DUID charges reduced to an acceptable level. In some circumstances, your Ambien DUI charges may even be dismissed. The Simmrin Law Group is here to assess your unique needs when constructing a strong defense for you.
Get Professional Help with Ambien DUI Charges in California
Improve your odds of successfully handling Ambien DUI charges in California by speaking to a DUI lawyer in Los Angeles now. The team at the Simmrin Law Group is prepared to help you build a strong defense to DUID charges. Just call (310) 997-4688 or complete our online contact form to get started.
You can begin getting answers to your legal questions with a FREE initial case evaluation.