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What are the requirements for the prosecution to successfully obtain a guilty verdict in a dui drugs?

Fair Oaks, CA |

I was driving one morning and suffered a grand mal seizure (I have suffered from seizures for 0ver 10 years and am on medication). I was not taking my medication at the time and the seizure caused me to pass out and my car ended up on the side of the road. The officer came (says he arrived and I was standing next to vehicle) and asked me questions which I do not know as I have no recollection of event (as is the case for every one of my seizures). He told me to go into the ambulance to the hospital where they took my blood. The officer left with it and I walked home. I received a warrant in the mail 2 months later and the toxicology report show some drug use. What does the prosecution need to do to convict me?

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Attorney answers 3


Drug DUIs are difficult for both sides because there are no fixed standards that establish impairment. With alcohol we know anything over .08 is illegal (plus driving). With drugs there is no bright line, especially since many drugs if taken regularly, are stored in the bodies fatty tissues long after they become inactive.

The charge here seems to focus on past drug use which is, in my opinion irrelevant. The prosecution will have to show that at the time of driving you were so much under the influence of drugs that your driving was impaired. Your medical condition complicates the case.

I imagine they will bring in an expert to opine about what the medical results showed. You need to hire a top flight DUI lawyer ASAP to prepare a defense. If you go it alone you will lose.


I agree with attorney John Kaman...

The primary difficulties in prosecuting a case of DUI drugs is proving (1) the drugs were actively present in the system, (2) the amount was sufficient to impair driving, (3 the driver was in fact impaired -- to the degree he was unable to operate a vehicle safely. These are problems primarily because it is generally very difficult to determine what levels of the many different drugs are necessary to achieve impairment, as well as whether the driver was, in fact, impaired (by the drug, not as perhaps in your case, by the results of a seizure).

Impairment by drugs is not a matter for which most cops are prepared to recognize or testify to -- which is why in recent years the DRE (drug recognition evaluation) training and certification program was developed by the Los Angeles Police Department and has spread across the country. Absent this specialized training in recognition of drug-caused impairment (and very few cops are DRE-certified), the arresting officer is highly subject to knowledgeable cross-examination.


Thanks for your posting.

The answer to your question is that the prosecution needs to show you were operating a motor vehicle with a prohibited narcotic or substance (including prescription drugs) in your system, which caused you to be impaired or not able to operate a motor vehicle safely.

That will of course depend on what was in your system, but the seizure may trigger additional action by the DMV regarding your license, and may be an intervening cause of the accident.

I hope that this helps, but please feel free to ask if you have any further questions. It's my pleasure to help in any way that I can. All the best to you.