Santa Barbara DUI Lawyers face this question frequently, and the key issue is impairment, much akin to DUI reckless driving and the penalties for a DUI with prescription medication are much the same.
California Vehicle Code §23152(a) provides it is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle.
The California Judicial Council has adopted an instruction to jurors which states; A person is under the influence if, as a result of taking a drug, his or her mental or physical abilities are so impaired that he or she is no longer able to drive a vehicle with the caution of a sober person, using ordinary care, under similar circumstances, (CALCRIM 2110).
A drug is defined as a substance or combination of substances, other than alcohol, that could so affect the nervous system, brain, or muscles of a person that it would appreciably impair his or her ability to drive as an ordinarily cautious person, in full possession of his or her faculties and using reasonable care, would drive under similar circumstances. (CALCRIM 2110).
As stated the key issue is impairment, impaired as a result of the prescription medication. Was the impairment to the degree defined in the DUI statute? A doctor and/or a toxicologist would be crucial at a DUI trial, as the mere presence of the medication in your system is not enough to convict, and because of the presumption of innocence it is prosecution who must prove you were impaired to the degree previously mentioned.
If you have been arrested for a DUI, specifically where it is alleged that you were under the influence of prescription medication contact Santa Barbara DUI lawyer, Kenneth M. Hallum to discuss your case factors, such as driving observations, field sobriety tests, and medical details. Know your rights, options, and defenses.