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I. VC 23152(c): Driving While Addicted to Drugs

Legal Definition: “(c) It is unlawful for a person who is addicted to the use of any drug to drive a vehicle. This subdivision shall not apply to a person who is participating in a narcotic treatment program approved pursuant to Article 3 (commencing with Section 11875) of Chapter 1 of Part 3 of Division 10.5 of the Health and Safety Code.”

To be found guilty of driving under the influence of a drug under VC 23152(c), the prosecution must show that you:

  1. Drove a motor vehicle


  1. While you were driving, you were addicted to a drug

II. What does this mean?

A person is under the influence if, as a result of taking a drug, his or her mental or physical abilities are so impaired that he or she is no longer able to drive a vehicle with the caution of a sober person, using ordinary care, under similar circumstances. A drug is a substance or combination of substances, other than alcohol, that could so affect the nervous system, brain, or muscles of a person that it would appreciably impair his or her ability to drive as an ordinarily cautious person, in full possession of his or her faculties and using reasonable care, would drive under similar circumstances. However here, do not need to actually be under the influence, to be found guilty of this charge.

The drug you are addicted to does not necessarily need to be illegal drugs such as heroin or cocaine, it can even be prescription drugs that are legally prescribed to you. To become a person who is addicted to drugs, it would mean you have become completely physically dependent on a drug, without use, would lead to physical withdrawals, that you have also developed such a strong tolerance by overuse and would need higher doses to have any effect on you, and that you have become emotionally dependent on the drug and the feeling and need to take the drug becomes a compulsive need.

III. Penalties

A conviction under VC 23152(c) is the same as a misdemeanor DUI. The maximum exposure can be up to 6 months in a County Jail. You must serve at least 50% of that time in custody. If this is not your first DUI offense, the penalties go up, those can be found here. Finally, if you have sufficient prior DUIs or a prior felony DUI, you can be charged under this section as a felony as well, which can be found here.

You are also subject to the same driver’s license penalties as you would under a standard DUI charge.

This is not a strike offense under the California Three Strikes law, and it is not a Sex Offense under PC 290. You could also face a loss of your Professional License if convicted, and if you are not a legal resident, you would face Deportation in Immigration Court since DUIs are generally held to be very serious crimes in immigration and licensing cases.

IV. Common Defenses

  1. Statute of Limitations
  2. Violation of Rights
  3. Insufficient Evidence

There are numerous defenses available for a DUI offense. Your attorney can attack the merits of the case, such as arguing that you were not an actual addict. It’s very difficult to make a determination that you are “addicted” to a drug, as opposed to say you are under the influence of a drug or alcohol, so that leaves a lot of room for argument in your case. If it cannot be found that you were actually addicted to a drug, then there would be insufficient evidence to prove you guilty of this crime.

Another common defense would be that the officer that stopped your car had violated your rights under the Fourth Amendment. In California, if there is an incident where police made an illegal or unlawful stop of you, then under PC 1538.5, you can move to suppress any evidence that came after your illegal stop. This means any admissions you made that regularly took or consumed drugs, or what those drugs may be, the blood test you took, which would, in turn, win you your case. You need an experienced attorney to review your case for this reason, as unlawful stops are an all too common aspect of DUI Law.

V. Call Today

A DUI can have a devastating impact on your life and your future. DUI crimes are heavily prosecuted in California, and the fines, classes, and jail associated with them are always on the higher end than a typical criminal offense. Not every attorney knows how to defend DUI cases, and that is what is needed to either fight the charges or work out a good plea bargain for your case. These are charges that must be heavily defended against. A commercial driver will lose their license, their job, and their career if convicted of a DUI. Our Ontario VC 23152(c) Driving While Addicted to Drugs DUI attorney has successfully defended hundreds of DUI crimes throughout the entire Inland Empire. Call your local Ontario Criminal Defense Attorney today at the Inland Empire Defense 909-939-7126. Located in Ontario.

Disclaimer: The legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor should it be considered the formation of a lawyer or attorney-client relationship. If you would like to find out more information about your particular legal matter, contact our office for a consultation.

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