Adderall is one of the most common drugs prescribed to manage ADHD. Adderall is such a common prescription drug that many people end up taking the medication even without a prescription. College students and young people may take the drug to stay awake longer during finals.
Many users don't think twice about driving after taking some medication. However, Adderall and other stimulants do have an effect on the body. The effects can intensify when combined with other medications, including alcohol. Even if you have a prescription, you can be arrested for driving under the influence.
An experienced California DUI defense lawyer understands the laws and the science behind drugged driving charges. Before pleading guilty to a drug DUI offense that could give you a permanent criminal record, make sure you understand your rights. Contact East Bay criminal defense lawyer Lynn Gorelick today.
Can You Be Arrested For Driving on Adderall in California?
California's drugged driving laws don't make a difference between illegal drugs and prescription drugs. Even over-the-counter (OTC) medications can count as drugs if they impair your ability to drive. This includes prescription drugs like Adderall.
Under California law, a drug includes any “substance or combination of substances, other than alcohol, which could so affect the nervous system, brain, or muscles of a person as to impair, to an appreciable degree, his ability to drive a vehicle in the manner that an ordinarily prudent and cautious man, in full possession of his faculties, using reasonable care, would drive a similar vehicle under like conditions.”
Under California Vehicle Code Section 23152(f), “It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any drug to drive a vehicle.”
Does Adderall Impair Driving Ability?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires Black Box Warnings on prescription drugs when there are adverse reactions that can lead to death or serious injury. The Black Box warning on Adderall indicates the drug is an amphetamine with a high potential for abuse. Particular attention should be paid to people getting the medication for nontherapeutic use.
Precautions for patients on the Adderall label state, “Amphetamines may impair the ability of the patient to engage in potentially hazardous activities such as operating machinery or vehicles; the patient should therefore be cautioned accordingly.”
Many patients say that Adderall helps them focus and can improve their driving ability. However, patients should understand how the drug affects them before they decide to get behind the wheel. If you have any concerns about how Adderall can impact safe driving, talk to your doctor. But remember, having a prescription is not a defense to drugged driving.
Amphetamine and Methamphetamine Use in the East Bay
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the percentage of adolescent and adult patients receiving prescription stimulants, including Adderall, increased from 2016 to 2021. Adderall saw a sharp uptick during the COVID-19 pandemic among adults ages 22-44. Many of these involved telehealth appointments diagnosing ADHD. In this age group, prescriptions increased 7.4% from 2019 to 2020 and another 15.1% from 2020 to 2021.
Adderall is a Schedule II drug under the Federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA). A Schedule II drug is defined as having a high potential for abuse. Continued use could lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.
What Are the Penalties for Drug DUI in California?
A drug DUI generally has the same penalties as an alcohol DUI. Most 1st-time drug DUIs are charged as misdemeanors. The penalties for a misdemeanor DUI usually involve:
A minimum of 48 hours in jail - or work release
A fine of up to $1000 plus penalties and assessments
1 to 3 years of DUI probation
There can be increased penalties if the DUI involves an injury accident or fatal car crash. A DUI combined with reckless driving or a hit and run also has increased penalties.
How Do Police Test for Adderall Use After a DUI?
If the police pull you over on a traffic stop, they may ask about alcohol or drugs. Even if you answer that you haven't had anything to drink or taken any drugs, they may still look for signs of impairment.
Some police officers go through a training program to become qualified as a “drug recognition expert” (DRE). This gives officers limited information about the effects of drugs on drivers. Amphetamines fall under the program category of central nervous system (CNS) stimulants, like cocaine.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Drug Recognition Expert course manual, persons under the influence of amphetamines may show:
Inability to sit sill
Misperception of time and distance
Lose the ability to concentrate for a length of time
An officer may arrest you on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs. Even if you admit to taking Adderall with a prescription and show your prescription, it may not be enough. If the officer has probable cause to believe your facilities were impaired, you can be arrested for a drug DUI.
If the police conduct the Walk and Turn (WAT) test, drivers on Adderall may fail because they start too soon, walk too fast, lose balance, or miss heel-to-toe. In the One Leg Stand (OLS) test, drivers may count very rapidly. Finger to Nose (FTN) tests may be jerky, abrupt, and inaccurate.
After an arrest, the police may take a chemical blood test. Under California's implied consent laws, drivers have given their implied consent to submit to chemical tests if arrested on suspicion of a DUI. If you refuse, your license can be suspended for a year.
A blood test will look for a panel of legal and illegal drugs, including amphetamines like Adderall. Adderall can stay in your system for up to 3 days after taking the medication. If you have other drugs in your system, including alcohol, depressants, or opioids, it may increase the chance of a criminal charge.
Drug DUI Defenses for East Bay Drivers
East Bay attorney Lynn Gorelick has more than 40 years of DUI defense experience and understands how to approach each case for the greatest chance for success. Representing individuals in Alameda County and Contra Costa County, Lynn Gorelick is familiar with the local criminal laws, local officers, and the prosecutors involved. Contact East Bay DUI defense attorney Lynn Gorelick today.