Amphetamines are a class of stimulant drugs. Methamphetamine is similar to other amphetamines but it can be more intense and have a faster onset. Both drugs can impair driving ability, especially if the driver is unfamiliar with the effects of the stimulant drugs in their body, for either legal or illegal use. Unfortunately, prosecutors do not always understand how drug test results may not represent a driver's ability at the time of a traffic stop. This leads to a number of people facing criminal DUI charges even if they are not guilty of any crime.
An experienced California DUI defense lawyer understands the laws and the science behind impaired driving charges. Before pleading guilty to a drug DUI offense that could lead to a permanent criminal record, make sure you understand your rights to a strong legal defense. Contact East Bay criminal defense lawyer Lynn Gorelick today.
Driving Under the Influence of Amphetamines in California
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.”
Under California Vehicle Code Section 312, a drug can include 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.”
The term “drug” includes more than just illegal narcotics and can include prescription medication or even inhalants. After a DUI where the driver's blood is tested and shows positive results for amphetamines, the driver could be charged with a drug DUI under 23152(f) VC.
Do Amphetamines Impair Driving Ability?
For example, it states on the warning label for Adderall, “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.”
When taking non-prescription amphetamines or methamphetamines, the individual may not know how much of the drug is in the pill, powder, or liquid, and cannot have a good gauge of how the drug will affect them. Illicit drugs may also contain other drugs, including opiates or other stimulants.
Methamphetamine use can impair judgment and increase risk-taking. Methamphetamine abuse can also cause mood disturbances, paranoia, and hallucinations. The effects of withdrawal include fatigue, which can also contribute to accidents.
Amphetamine and Methamphetamine Use in the East Bay
Methamphetamines (meth) and amphetamines are both categorized as a Schedule II controlled substance in the U.S. A Schedule II drug is defined as having a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence.
One of the main differences between the two types of stimulants is that amphetamines are much more commonly prescribed for medical conditions but there are many fewer methamphetamine-based prescriptions. Meth is often consumed as a “street drug” instead of a drug manufactured by a pharmaceutical company. Amphetamines are much more common in prescription medications, which may include:
Penalties for DUI Drug Conviction
Most 1st-time drug DUIs are charged as misdemeanors. The penalties for a misdemeanor DUI usually involve:
- A minimum of 48 hours in jail
- Fine of up to $1000
- 3 to 5 years of DUI probation
- License suspension
How Police Test for Amphetamine Use After a DUI
When the police arrest a driver on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs, the police will try to get a blood test. Under California's implied consent laws, drivers have given their implied consent to submit to chemical tests if they are arrested on suspicion of a DUI.
A blood test will look for a panel of legal and illegal drugs which could impair a driver's ability to safely operate the vehicle. This includes:
- Cannabis (THC)
- Stimulants (amphetamines and methamphetamine)
- Depressants (barbiturates and benzodiazepines)
- Hallucinogens (LSD and mescaline)
- Dissociative drugs (PCP and Ketamine)
- Narcotic analgesic (opioids)
These chemical tests may only show traces of certain drugs in the driver's body. However, the blood test may not give an accurate picture of what influence the drugs had on the driver at the time. Other problems include inaccurate testing methods, contaminated samples, or lack of proper maintenance or calibration of testing machines can also lead to inaccurate results.
Drug DUI Defenses for East Bay Drivers
Even if the prosecutor makes it seem like you have no chance and have to plead guilty, make sure you understand your rights before pleading guilty to any crime. There are specific procedures and policies that must be followed for a drug test result to be considered accurate. Problems with the way the police handled the breath, blood, or urine testing could result in having that evidence thrown out of court.
East Bay attorney Lynn Gorelick has more than 37 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.