Allaye Chan Law


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Did you know you can be charged with DUI for DWC, driving while caffeinated?

If you are charged with DUI, contact a Sacramento DUI attorney at our firm for consultation today.
Increased attention has been given to the crime of Driving Under the Influence over the past couple decades and the trend continues to this day. Individuals who get behind the wheel of a car have a responsibility to ensure the safety of themselves, their passengers, and everyone else they share the road with. Many of us understand that in order to drive safely we must be fully capacitated, meaning we have a clear and healthy mind and body, when we get behind the wheel. Those of us who choose to drive incapacitated as a result of drugs or alcohol will be targeted for arrest to ensure the safety of everyone on the road.

Driving Under the Influence

Many people are not aware that you can receive a DUI for a variety of different substances, not just alcohol. Anything you ingest that will affect your judgement and or motor skills can get you a DUI charge. Contrary to popular belief, this includes a variety of different substances that you may use on a daily basis! Certain substances, such as illegal drugs, will get you a DUI if you test positive in any amount, regardless of your driving at the time. Other substances represent a bit of a grey area, and you will be charged with DUI based upon a combination of the amount of the substance in your body and your driving ability at the time of arrest. A man in California was recently charged with DUI for driving while caffeinated! The arresting officer noticed poor and erratic driving which he suspected was related to substance abuse, but the man did not test positive for alcohol or drugs. He was released but later charged with DUI citing significantly elevated caffeine levels present in his bloodwork.

Surprising Medications and Substances That Could Get You a DUI

  • Cough and Cold Medicine – Nyquil, Robitussin, and other Ephedrine and Pseudoephedrine-based medicines
  • Caffeine – Coffee, espresso, energy drinks and caffeine pills
  • Narcotic Pain relievers – Percocet, Oxycontin, Vicodin, Norcos and other oxycodone and hydrocodone-based medications
  • Anti-anxiety medications – Xanax, Valium, Ativan, Halcion, Paxal and other benzodiazepines
  • Hyperactivity and Attention Deficit Disorder (“ADD”) medications – Adderall, Ritalin, Focalin and Concerta among others

The list of possible substances that could get you a DUI is immense, and would likely take up multiple pages on this website. No one could ever list them all, and it is difficult for many of us to avoid driving while on prescribed medications. This means that protecting yourself and others on the road requires you to be aware of your body and mind, and to make sure that you are fully capacitated before you behind the wheel.

It can be difficult for a prosecutor to prove that your impaired driving was based on the medication you were taking, but it does happen. If you have been charged with DUI for a substance that you didn’t even think it was possible for, please contact a Sacramento DUI attorney at this law firm immediately. We have experience fighting DUI cases involving all types of substances and are here to help!

Drugs & Preliminary Breath Test (PBT)

The NHTSA established eight field sobriety tests to determine drug usage: horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN), pupil reaction, pupil size, standing steadiness, one-leg stand, walk-the-line, finger-to-nose, and pulse rate.

Officers also consider skin marks, apathy, drowsiness, and hyperactivity. Although relatively accurate indicators of drug use, the reliability of the results is contingent upon the training and experience of the office administering tests.

NHTSA established several field sobriety tests to determine drug use. Eight tests were developed – one leg stand, finger-to-nose, walk –the-line, standing steadiness, HGN, pupil reaction, pupil size, and pulse rate. Officers also consider skin marks, apathy, drowsiness, and hyperactivity. Although the tests are considered good indicators of drug use, their reliability depends on the training and experience of the officer.

The preliminary breath test (PBT) is offered at the scene of a police stop to determine motorist intoxication. The PBT is part of the implied consent law, and in a few states refusing to take the test can result in a lengthier driver’s license suspension. Although the PBT result is not admissible in criminal proceedings, it is usually admissible in a driver’s license suspension hearing. Since the PBT is not accurate or widely accepted as reliable scientific evidence, it cannot be used to prove criminal guilt beyond a reasonable doubt; however it can be used to prove civil culpability by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not) is a driver’s license suspension hearing.

PBT reliability is significantly influenced by external factors unrelated to alcohol consumption. Depending upon PBT model used, the result can be skewed and inflated by non-tethanol components. The fuel cell PBT is distorted by the presence of acetaldehyde, methanol, isopropanol and n-propranolol. The gas sensor PBT has inflated results with the previously mentioned chemicals, as well as acetic acid, paraldehyde, and ethylene glycol. In most studies performed, the PBT was found to be 60-80% accurate.

Vehicle Impoundment After DUI Arrest

Even if the vehicle owner is not involved in a drunk driving accident, in certain instances the vehicle can be seized, impounded or sold.

Typically, statutes require the owner to have knowledge of two things:

  1. The driver has a prior drunk driving offense: and
  2. the vehicle will be used in conjunction with the consumption of alcohol.

Although “knowledge” is difficult to prove, it can be a major inconvenience to resolve this misunderstanding in court.

Prior to the sentencing hearing, transfer the vehicle title into the name of someone having no association with the drunk driving incident, such as a friend or relative. This eliminates any seizure, impoundment or auction issues, and allows the owner to retain possession of the vehicle.

One day after the sentencing hearing, transfer title to the original owner. In some instances the defendant cannot register a vehicle until the driver’s license suspension period has expired. Under these circumstances, transfer title into the name of a third-party having no connection with the drunk driving accident.

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