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DUI Drug Defense Attorney Richard Wagner is the source for excellent, professional legal representation against DUI Drug charges.

Mr. Wagner truly did an outstanding job on my case, he got both of cases including a DMV case dismissed! He is very professional and was there when I had any questions about my case. He responded immediately whenever I had any concerns or questions! I'm so glad we chose Mr. Wagner for our legal issues he did an outstanding job representing and we were very pleased! I give a definite 5 star rating! Highly recommend. R.M., Rancho Santa Margarita Read what others have to say

If you have been arrested and charged with DUI drugs, Richard Wagner is an impeccable DUI drug DUI lawyer. Read Richard Wagner's profile

DUID Attorney Richard Wagner knows how to successfully defend DUI drug charges. Southern California expects to see a rise in the number of drug-impaired driving cases that will be investigated and prosecuted.

Question: If drugs are found from a blood test does that mean you are too impaired to drive?

blood draw dui drugs

Photo by Nguyen Hiep on Unsplash 

Answer: According to the Federal Government, not necessarily. In a report written by Richard P. Compton, called “Field Evaluation of the Los Angeles Police Department Drug Detection Program,” sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, aka “The LAPD 173 Study,” Compton found:

There is no way to determine objectively whether the suspects were actually too ‘impaired' to drive safely. The fact that drugs were found in a suspect's blood does not necessarily mean the suspect was too impaired to drive safely.” Page 15. 

Vehicle Code Section 23152f says it's against the law for a person who is under the influence of any drug to drive a vehicle. This is not limited to illegal drugs. 

Vehicle Code Section 23152g says it's unlawful for a person who is under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug to drive a vehicle.

The prosecutor must prove you were under the influence of a drug. This requires evidence that the drug impaired your ability to drive.

Did your DUI drug case have a DRE: Drug Recognition Expert?

A DRE is an officer trained to do the Drug Recognition Evaluation. NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) recommends that officers use a DRE on DUI drug cases. The CHP also says a DRE should examine drivers suspected of driving under the influence of a drug.

Note: Three early studies (including The LAPD 173 Study above) trying to “validate” the DRE protocol, all sponsored by NHTSA, could not conclude that the DRE protocol allows a DRE to predict whether a person is too impaired by a drug to drive.

In most cases even if there is a DRE involved, there could be flaws in the evidence:

Was the 12-Step Drug Recognition Evaluation procedure followed?

Often, a drug recognition expert is not involved in the DUI drug case, and/or the DRE fails to follow all 12 steps. The 12 steps are highly standardized—this means the DRE must give it the same way every time.

The 12 Steps of the Drug Recognition Evaluation are:

1. Breath test

2. Interview of the arresting officer

3. Preliminary examination and first pulse reading

4. Eye examinations

(a) HGN

(b) VGN

(c) Lack of Convergence

5. Divided Attention Tests

(a) Modified Romberg

(b) Walk and Turn

(c) One Leg Stand

(d) Finger to Nose

6. Vital Signs

(a) Blood pressure

(b) Body temperature

(c) Second pulse reading

7. Darkroom examination Did the DRE examine your eyes in the 3 different light conditions? Was there a 90-second wait before starting the Darkroom exam? 

(a) Room light

(b) Near total darkness

(c) Direct light

8. Muscle tone examination

9. Check for injection sites and third pulse

10. Interview of the suspect

11. Analysis and opinion of DRE

12. Toxicological examination

Did you exhibit another form of impairment, such as anxiety, which can mimic drug impairment?

Were you involved in an accident? If so, did your head get injured? Or have you ever had a head injury?

What was the reason for the police contact?

Was drug paraphernalia found?

Did you submit to a chemical test? Was the person who drew your blood qualified? Where was it stored? 

Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana

Can You Get a DUI for Smoking Weed in California?

It is difficult to prove a link between a person's THC blood concentration and performance-impairing effects. The NHTSA concedes it is inadvisable to try to predict the effects of marijuana based on blood THC concentrations alone.

THC Marijuana Delta 9

Photo by Esteban López on Unsplash

How Much Marijuana Can You Drive With In California?

Richard P. Compton also wrote “Marijuana-Impaired Driving – A Report to Congress” sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2017.

In this report Compton notes,

“in those studies that have been conducted (examining the relationship between THC blood levels and degree of impairment) the consistent finding is that the level of THC in the blood and the degree of impairment do not appear to be closely related.” Page 7.

An interesting finding from this research is that after smoking marijuana, subjects in most of the simulator and instrumented vehicle studies on marijuana and driving typically drive slower, follow other cars at greater distances, and take fewer risks than when sober. Page 12.

Delta-9 THC is the main psychoactive drug found in marijuana. Most of the psychoactive effects of cannabis are believed to come from Delta-9 THC. THC is metabolized into active 11-hydroxy-tetrahydrocannabinol (11-OH-THC). Your body then converts this metabolite into inactive 11-nor-9-carboxy-delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THCCOOH).

The interpretation of THC test results requires differentiating between chronic and occasional users.

Click Here for more information about Marijuana DUIs


Methamphetamine is a strong central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. Methamphetamine is a white, beige, or light brown crystalline powder or clear chunky crystals. Methamphetamine is commonly referred to by such names as “speed,” “meth,” and “chalk” or “ice,” “crystal,” “glass,” and “tina.”

Blood concentrations do not disclose when methamphetamine was consumed. Methamphetamine metabolizes to amphetamine, another CNS stimulant. Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) is in the same class of drugs as methamphetamine and amphetamine but is more hallucinogenic. 


Cocaine is a strong central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. However, as the effects wear off, users may feel fatigued, depressed, and sleepy. The presence of cocaine at a given blood concentration cannot usually be associated with a degree of impairment or a specific effect for a given individual without additional information.

This is due to many factors, including individual levels of tolerance to the drug, changes in cocaine concentrations while it is stored, and the many ways to ingest cocaine.

Prescription Drugs / Over-the-Counter Medication

We live in a medicated society. This does not stop the prosecution of DUI charges for prescription drugs. Drugs like carisoprodol (Soma), zolpidem (Ambien), triazolam (Halcion), flunitrazepam (Rohypnol) are available by prescription.

Prescription drugs

Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash 

It's no defense against DUI drugs that you had a prescription or otherwise legally used an over-the-counter, non-prescription drug. However, the prosecutor still must prove you were drug-impaired while driving beyond a reasonable doubt.

This means that if a DUI drug attorney creates a reasonable doubt that your behavior was consistent with a medical condition, then you are not guilty.

The half-lives of benzodiazepines alprazolam (Xanax), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), clonazepam (Klonopin), and diazepam (Valium) vary greatly.

The half-life of a drug is used to estimate how much a person has ingested. The half-life is the time required for a drug's concentration to decrease by half of its initial amount.

For example, 100 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) of a drug with a 5-hour half-life will diminish to 50 ng/ml after 5 hours; that 50 ng/ml will diminish to 25 ng/ml after another 5 hours, etc.


Morphine and heroin are white, crystalline powders. Heroin can be white, dark brown, or even look like black tar, which is known as “black tar” heroin. The effects of morphine or heroin depend on the dose, how it is taken, and previous exposure. These are opiate analgesics or narcotic analgesics (absence of sense of pain). 

Morphine is extracted from the seedpod of the poppy plant. The resin from the seedpod is used to make opium.

Morphine has an accepted medical use to relieve pain and for anesthesia.

Heroin is made from morphine. There is no accepted medical use for heroin in the United States.

NHTSA – the federal government – says tolerance makes interpreting blood morphine concentrations extremely difficult.

Horizontal gaze nystagmus, vertical gaze nystagmus, and lack of convergence are not present.

If you have been arrested and charged with DUID, call experienced DUI Drug Defense Attorney Richard Wagner now at 714-721-4423 or 714-403-6317 for a FREE consultation to discuss defense strategies to fight your DUI drugs arrest.

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