June 11, 2012 By Wallin & Klarich

Not all driving under the influence convictions in California involve alcohol. For a conviction based in whole or part on drug use:

1. The drug must be a substance or combination of substances other than alcohol that can impair driving to an appreciable degree (California Vehicle Code section 312); and
2. It must be proved that the defendant was in fact impaired by that drug (People v. Enriquez (1996) 42 Cal.App.4th 661).

Note that the ruling in People v. Enriquez does not say that in drug cases juries must be instructed that the level of impairment must be “appreciable.” However, the opinion makes it clear that this is a correct statement of law. In People v. Hasson (2007), the defendant was charged with vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. The prosecution’s toxicologist testified that because of the unpredictable effects of marijuana, a scientific conclusion that an individual is driving under the influence of marijuana cannot be based on a blood sample absent field sobriety tests.

Intoxication was evidenced solely by the defendant’s bad judgment in driving on the shoulder in a conditional use lane outside the hours that driving there was permitted. The prosecution’s expert testified that small amounts of alcohol can combine with methamphetamine to produce a euphoria that impairs good judgment and increases risk-taking and reckless driving.

If you have been convicted of driving under the influence in Orange County, you will need the professional assistance of the experienced dui defense lawyers at Wallin & Klarich to vigorously represent you. At Wallin & Klarich, we have helped people accused of dui offenses in California for over 30 years. Call us today at (888) 280-6839 or visit us at our website at www.wklaw.com. We will be there when you call.

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