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VC 23152(f): Driving Under the Influence of Drugs

Legal Definition: “(f) It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any drug to drive a vehicle.”

To secure a conviction for driving under the influence of a drug, as mandated by VC 23152(f), the prosecution must establish the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • Operation of a Motor Vehicle
  • Operation of a Vehicle while under the influence
  • Evidence of being under the influence of a drug

As professionals with extensive expertise in the field, we assure you of our authority and trustworthiness in presenting these facts.

What does this mean?

A person is deemed to be under the influence when the consumption of drugs impairs their mental or physical capabilities to an extent where they are unable to operate a vehicle with the same vigilance, caution, and care exhibited by a sober individual in similar circumstances. Drugs encompass any substance or combination of substances, excluding alcohol, that can substantially hinder the nervous system, brain function, or muscular performance, thus appreciably impairing the ability to drive with the prudence exercised by an ordinary, fully alert individual.

It should be noted that the prescription status of a drug is inconsequential as long as it hampers driving ability while operating a vehicle. The pivotal factor in determining impairment is the effect of the drug, rather than its legal categorization. For instance, the intake of headache medication to alleviate a headache would not induce impairment, despite technically qualifying as a “drug”. A Drug DUI offense requires the presence of impairment; otherwise, it cannot be substantiated. It is important to highlight that unlike a DUI offense under VC 23152(b), there is no predetermined “per se” drug limit deemed to cause impairment when present in one’s system. In other words, there is no specific quantity of drugs, whether it is legally prescribed medication or substances like cocaine or marijuana, that must be detected to establish impairment. Nonetheless, ongoing research aims to identify potential thresholds for impairment.

Furthermore, similar to alcohol-related DUI offenses, the crime lies in the impairment caused rather than the mere consumption of a legal or illicit drug. If one consumes marijuana and drives without experiencing any adverse effects on their driving ability, they would not be held accountable for a Drug DUI. Another distinction between Drug DUIs and regular alcohol-related DUIs is the requirement for a blood test when suspicion arises regarding drug impairment, as a breath test cannot identify the presence of drugs in an individual’s system.


A conviction under VC 23152(f) 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 that can be found here.

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 Courtsince DUIs are generally held to be very serious crimes in immigration and licensing cases.

Common Defenses

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

When it comes to defending against a DUI Drug case, experience and expertise are crucial. It is essential to highlight that there is no “per se” limit to drug use and driving, leading us to emphasize the importance of proving that you were not actually driving under the influence, but rather had a substance in your system. Consider the scenario of a hardworking bartender driving home after a late shift, exhausted and stressed from work. If they had consumed marijuana before leaving, they may not be impaired, although an officer may perceive otherwise during a routine traffic stop.

In such cases, it is vital to present reasonable explanations for your appearance or driving behavior, as these can serve as a powerful Trial Defense, demonstrating the absence of drug influence. By doing so, the prosecution would be unable to provide sufficient evidence to support their claim of your guilt.

Moreover, another commonly employed defense revolves around potential Fourth Amendment rights violations committed by the officer who pulled you over. In California, if an unlawful or illegal stop by the police occurs, you have the right, under PC 1538.5, to motion for the dismissal of any evidence obtained after the illegal stop. This includes any admissions you made regarding drug consumption or any subsequent blood tests. Securing the services of an experienced attorney becomes imperative in cases involving unlawful stops, as they possess the necessary know-how to thoroughly evaluate your situation.

Rest assured that our team of seasoned professionals will diligently review your case, as we understand that unlawful stops persist as an unfortunately prevalent aspect of DUI Law. Trust in our expertise to deliver the strong defense you need and deserve.

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A DUI conviction in California can echo profound repercussions in your immediate life and the years ahead. Recognize that DUI offenses in this state are pursued with unparalleled tenacity, often leading to exorbitant fines, compulsory courses, and the looming threat of incarceration—far surpassing other criminal consequences. It underscores the absolute necessity of having a legal advocate who specializes in the nuanced landscape of DUI defenses.

Place your trust in our Ontario VC 23152(f) Driving Under the Influence of Drugs attorney. With a storied history of successfully navigating DUI cases throughout the Inland Empire, our expertise is unmatched. Don’t gamble with your future. Engage with the Inland Empire Defense by dialing 909-281-0391. Step into our office, conveniently situated in Ontario, and experience firsthand our unwavering commitment to your defense.

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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