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Proving “Addiction” in a DUI & Drugs Case


California Vehicle Code section 23152(c) makes it a separate criminal offense to drive a vehicle while addicted to “any drug” unless that person is participating in a “narcotic treatment program”. This is a separate and distinct offense to driving under the influence of drugs. Unlike DUI prosecutions, proof of actual impairment at the time of driving is not a specific element of this offense. Likewise, it is not a defense that the person was legally entitled to use the drug.

“Addiction” may be difficult to prove without evidence of the defendants personal and medical history and for this reason, this is a code section that is rarely prosecuted.

Drugs may include illegal or prescribed drugs but the drug must be one that is capable of impairing a persons ability to drive to an appreciable degree pursuant to the definition of drug in the Vehicle Code.

If you have any concerns about your ability to drive safely as a result of the medications you are taking, consult a Los Angeles DUI lawyer as well as your doctor, as the legal ramifications of being arrested for DUI based on drugs can be very significant.