DRUG DUI LAWYER
OVER 24 YEARS EXPERIENCE IN DUI DEFENSE, PROVEN TRACK RECORD, HIGHLY RATED AND REVIEWED DUI DEFENSE ATTORNEY, FORMER DUI PROSECUTOR.
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 in my blood does that mean I am too impaired to drive?
Photo by Nguyen Hiep on Unsplash
Answer: According to the Federal Government, NO.
“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. Contrary to the case with alcohol we do not know what quantity of a drug in blood implies impairment.”1
Question: If drugs are found in my blood and I got into an accident, doesn't that mean I am guilty of a DUI?
Answer: According to the Federal Government, NO.
Researchers found that after taking into consideration things like gender, age, ethnicity and alcohol concentration, there was no significant contribution to crash risk from drugs.2
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.
A fundamental principle of pharmacology is that the effect of a particular drug or drugs on a given individual cannot be predicted by the level of the drugs found in the blood.
Did your DUI drug case have a DRE: Drug Recognition Expert?
A DRE is an officer trained to do the Drug Influence 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 are probably flaws in the evidence:
Did the police follow the 12-Step Drug Influence Evaluation process?
In lots of cases, a drug recognition expert is not involved in the DUI drug case, or the DRE fails to follow all 12 steps.
The Drug Influence Evaluation process is standardized and systematic —this means the DRE must do it the same way every time.3
Why must the police do the Drug Influence Evaluation exactly the same way, every time?
- The specific manner in which a person performs the tests may help indicate the category of drugs causing the impairment
- The police carefully examines and considers these indicators before making a judgment concerning what categories of drugs are affecting you
- Ensures no mistakes are made
- No steps are omitted
- No extraneous or unreliable “indicators” are included4
The 12 Steps of the Drug Influence Evaluation5:
1. Breath alcohol test
2. The Interview of the arresting officer
3. Preliminary examination
4. Examination of the eyes
5. Divided Attention Tests
6. Examination of vital signs
7. Darkroom examinations
8. Examination of muscle tone
9. Examination for injection sites
10. Subject's statements and other observations
11. Opinion of the evaluator
12. Toxicological examination
What are the 7 Categories of Drugs6?
- CNS Depressants (Alcohol, Barbiturates, Antidepressants, Anti-Anxiety Tranquilizers)
- CNS Stimulants (Amphetamine, Methamphetamine, Cocaine, Ritalin)
- Hallucinogens (LSD, MDMA "Ecstasy", Peyote, Psilocybin)
- Dissociative Anesthetics (Ketamine, PCP)
- Narcotic Analgesics (Codeine, Fentanyl, Heroin, Morphine, Opium)
- Inhalants (Nitrous Oxide, Glues, Paint, Amyl Nitrite)
- Cannabis (Marijuana, Hashish)
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."7
Photo by Esteban Lopez on Unsplash
How Much Marijuana Can You Drive With In California?
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. 8
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.9
... the presence of THC in the driver's body has not been shown to be a reliable measure of marijuana impairment of driving.10
It is difficult to establish a relationship between a person's THC blood or plasma concentration and performance impairing effects.11
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 primarily metabolized to 11-hydroxy-THC. The 11-hydroxy-THC is then rapidly metabolized to the 11-nor-9-carboxy-THC (THC-COOH) which is not psychoactive.12
The interpretation of THC test results requires differentiating between chronic and occasional users. Chronic users can have mean plasma levels of THC-COOH (which is not psychoactive) of 45 ng/mL 12 hours after use.13
Methamphetamine is in the central nervous system (CNS) stimulant category. 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 in the central nervous system (CNS) stimulant category.
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.14
Single low doses of cocaine may improve mental and motor performance in persons who are fatigued or sleep deprived...At these low doses, most studies showed performance enhancement in attentional abilities but no effect on cognitive abilities.15
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 Adderall, Dexedrine and Ritalin are considered amphetamines and are in the CNS stimulant category.
The NHTSA breaks down the CNS Depressant category into subcategories:
- Barbiturates - Amobarbital (Amytal), Secobarbital (Seconal)
- Non-Barbiturates - Carisoprodol (Soma), Benadryl, Sominex, Zolpidem (Ambien)
- Anti-Anxiety Tranquilizers - Alprazolam (Xanax), Diazepam (Valium), Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol), Lorazepam (Ativan)
- Antidepressants - Celexa, Fluoxetine (Prozac), (Paroxetine) Paxil
- Antipsychotic Tranquilizers - Seroquel, Haldol, Abilify
- Combinations - Limbitrol, Librax
These medications are available by prescription.
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.
Certain medical conditions or injuries may cause signs and symptoms similar to those of drug impairment.16
How many different medical conditions are there? Depending on source, from about 2,500 to 12,000 diseases and conditions!! It is recommended the DRE get as much detail when you interview the subject about their medical conditions.17
Head trauma may injure the brain and create disorientation, confusion, lack of coordination, slowed
responses, and speech impairment.18
Did you exhibit another form of impairment, such as shock, fear, anxiety, which can looks like drug impairment?19
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.
Furthermore, it is a myth that a blood drug concentration predicts impairment if it exceeds a therapeutic concentration.
Therapeutic concentrations are established in medicine to ensure that levels of a drug are not toxic in an individual.
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.
Morphine, Heroin Codeine, and Opium are in the narcotic analgesic category (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.
1 Richard P. Compton, Field Evaluation of the Los Angeles Police Department Drug Detection Program, (Report No.: DOT HS 807 012) aka The LAPD 173 Study, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (Feb 1986) p. 15.
2 John H. Lacey, Tara Kelley-Baker, Amy Berning, Eduardo Romano, Anthony Ramirez, Julie Yao, Christine Moore, Katharine Brainard, Katherine Carr, Karen Pell, and Richard Compton, Drug and Alcohol Crash Risk: A Case-Control Study, (Report No.: DOT HS 812 355) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (Dec 2016).
3 NHTSA 2018 Drug Recognition Expert 7-Day School Participant Manual Session 4 - page 3 of 50.
4 NHTSA 2018 Drug Recognition Expert 7-Day School Participant Manual Session 4 - page 4 of 50.
5 NHTSA 2018 Drug Recognition Expert 7-Day School Participant Manual Session 4 - pp 6-7 of 50.
6 NHTSA 2018 Drug Recognition Expert 7-Day School Participant Manual Session 2 - pp 5-11 of 21,
7 Couper, Fiona J. and Logan, Barry K, Drugs and Human Performance Fact Sheets, (Report No.: DOT HS 809 725) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (Apr 2004) p. 9.
8 Richard P. Compton, Marijuana-Impaired Driving – A Report to Congress, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (2017) p. 7.
9 Richard P. Compton, Marijuana-Impaired Driving – A Report to Congress, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (2017) p. 12.
10 Richard P. Compton, Marijuana-Impaired Driving – A Report to Congress sponsored by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (2017) p. 14.
11 Couper, Fiona J. and Logan, Barry K, Drugs and Human Performance Fact Sheets, (Report No.: DOT HS 809 725) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (Apr 2004) p. 8.
12 Couper, Fiona J. and Logan, Barry K, Drugs and Human Performance Fact Sheets, (Report No.: DOT HS 809 725) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (Apr 2004) p. 8.
13 Couper, Fiona J. and Logan, Barry K, Drugs and Human Performance Fact Sheets, (Report No.: DOT HS 809 725) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (Apr 2004) p. 8.
14 Couper, Fiona J. and Logan, Barry K, Drugs and Human Performance Fact Sheets, (Report No.: DOT HS 809 725) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (Apr 2004) p. 20.
15 Couper, Fiona J. and Logan, Barry K, Drugs and Human Performance Fact Sheets, (Report No.: DOT HS 809 725) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (Apr 2004) p. 23.
16 NHTSA 2018 Drug Recognition Expert 7-Day School Participant Manual Session 6 - Page 46 of 56.
17 NHTSA 2018 Drug Recognition Expert 7-Day School Participant Manual Session 6 - Page 48 of 56.
18 NHTSA 2018 Drug Recognition Expert 7-Day School Participant Manual Session 6 - Page 47 of 56.
19 17 NHTSA 2018 Drug Recognition Expert 7-Day School Participant Manual Session 6 - Page 48 of 56.