DUI Drugs and the Driver's License Suspensions

DUI and Drugs on License SuspensionWhen a driver is arrested for DUI he or she is typically given a citation regarding his or her upcoming arraignment as well as notice of an impending administrative driver’s license suspension set to begin 30 days after the arrest date. While drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol can both be charged with a DUI offense under California Vehicle Code Section 23152 VC, the DMV treats offenses involving drugs differently than those involving alcohol.

The DMV Administrative Suspension and DUI Drug Offenses

When a driver is suspected of driving under the influence of drugs, the arresting officer will require that he or she provide a blood sample, as there is no breath test that can measure for drug use or intoxication. The blood test results take several weeks to come in and the officer will typically cite the defendant for DUI drugs in violation of California Vehicle Code Section 23152(e) VC.

A critical difference between DUI alcohol and DUI drug offenses is that the California DMV only issues an administrative suspension for drivers who drove with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher. The DMV currently does not issue an administrative license suspension for drivers with drugs in their system.

Typically, the arresting officer may notify the driver of an upcoming suspension even where no alcohol use is suspected. The suspension would automatically go into effect unless the driver or his or her attorney formally requests an administrative hearing to challenge the suspension and a stay of suspension while the hearing is pending. Typically, once the blood results come in and the assigned DMV hearing officer sees that the driver did not have a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher, the suspension will be set aside and the driver’s license will be reinstated.

The Court Suspension and DUI Drug Offenses

Even if the DMV does not impose an administrative license suspension for driving under the influence of drugs offenses, the defendant may still face a driver’s license suspension depending on what happens in court.

If the driver is convicted of any DUI offense under California Vehicle Code Section 23152 VC, the conviction will be communicated to the DMV who will suspend or revoke the defendant’s driving privileges. Drivers under the influence of drugs may be convicted under California Vehicle Code Section 23152(e) VC or California Vehicle Code Section 23152(f) VC, which makes it illegal to drive while under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs.

Because Los Angeles County is part of the DMV’s Ignition Interlock Device (“IID”) Pilot Program, the defendant would be required to have an IID device installed into his or her vehicle in order to have his or her driving privileges reinstated. This device is designed to prevent drivers from starting or driving their vehicles if under the influence of alcohol by requiring periodic breath tests. Even if the defendant had no alcohol in his or her system, he or she would be required to have an IID for at least five months.

The court license suspension is not imposed on drivers who are convicted of reduced DUI charges, such as wet reckless pursuant to California Vehicle Code Section 23103/23103.5 VC, reckless driving in violation of California Vehicle Code Section 23103 VC or exhibition of speed under California Vehicle Code Section 23109(c) VC.

If you have been arrested for DUI drugs, it is critical that you meet with an experienced DUI attorney right away. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Michael Kraut fights hard on behalf of his clients both in Court and before the DMV.

For more information about DUI drugs and the driver’s license suspension, and to schedule your free consultation, Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

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