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Vista DUID Lawyers


Former Police Officer Turned Attorney

In California, a person can be arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) not only for alcohol but also for drugs. Even though recreational marijuana is legal under state law, there are still criminal penalties if an officer suspects that you were driving while intoxicated. These punishments become harsher if you are accused of using illegal drugs, as well. Unlike a DUI with alcohol, a DUI with drugs, sometimes called a DUID, has no minimum threshold of drugs in the bloodstream to warrant an arrest. This means that just a trace amount of an illegal drug in your system when behind the wheel constitutes a DUID.

If you have been charged with a DUID, then you face serious penalties under California law. Not only could your license be suspended, but you may have to serve jail time, pay legal fees, and have a mark on your record. Beating your charges requires a thorough understanding of how Vista police officers investigate these cases and how prosecutors pursue charges, which is why you should contact jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys.

Our Vista DUID defense attorney is a former LAPD investigator with extensive experience in narcotics investigations. We can not only explain the penalties you will face in a free consultation, but also vigorously defend you in a criminal court. To speak to the top DUI attorney in North County, call jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys at (760) 630-2000.


Have questions about DUI with drugs in California? Call jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys at (760) 630-2000.


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What Is a DUID?

According to California Vehicle Code 23152 VC, it is illegal for someone to drive when they are:

  • Under the active influence of any drug.
  • Under the active influence of any drug combined with alcohol.
  • Currently addicted to any drug and not enrolled in a treatment regimen.

When the statute mentions any drug, it does mean any sort of drug, narcotic, or influential substance. Under this law, it is just as illegal to have used marijuana or cocaine as it is to have used a nighttime flu medicine. In addition, if you are charged with possessing illegal drugs, you can also face further criminal penalties.

Drugs that can result in a DUID include:

  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Methamphetamines
  • Mushrooms
  • Opium
  • Certain prescription drugs, such as OxyContin
  • Certain over-the-counter drugs

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DUID Penalties in Vista

A DUID charge can lead to the same penalties as a typical DUI. It will also count as a DUI when a court looks back on your previous convictions for California’s lookback period if you are arrested again.

If you were arrested for the first time for DUID, you face:

  • Up to six months in jail
  • Up to $1,000 in fines
  • A four-month to one-year license suspension
  • Around $500 to $800 in additional fees

However, given that DUIs are priorable, you face enhanced penalties for multiple offenses. If you have three DUIDs on your record, you face a felony for a fourth violation, which can lead to a lengthy term in state prison, thousands of dollars in fines, and additional restrictions in your life as you are now a “convicted felon.” These penalties can be compounded by a possession charge.

Along with being charged criminally, you will be required to attend a DMV hearing within 10 days of your arrest to defend your right to keep your driver’s license. Failing to attend this hearing will lead to an automatic license suspension, and even if you do attend, you will face an uphill battle to keep your license. Your best bet is to hire an experienced attorney to represent you in a Vista DMV hearing and advocate on your behalf.

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How Are DUIDs Investigated?

Due to the fact that any drug can trigger a DUID arrest in California, it is up to the arresting officer to try to determine if you are unlawfully influenced by a substance at the time of being pulled over. Even having taken cough syrup could arguably slow your reaction time and constitute a DUID, leading to an arrest.

Officers may also choose to administer a drug test. The implied consent law inherent in getting a driver’s license that requires California motorists to submit to chemical testing for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) measurements also requires them to submit to drug testing. Refusing to take a chemical test will trigger an automatic license suspension. Unlike many DUI with alcohol cases, a chemical test refusal for a DUI with drugs case can be considered as evidence to use against you in any subsequent trials. Due to the harshness of these consequences, it is recommended that you do not refuse drug testing at a Vista police station in most situations.

Unfortunately, this system relies entirely on the police officer’s own discretion and better judgment. While this might seem unfair, you should consider that an experienced Vista DUI attorney like Attorney James N. Dicks can use these unscientific methods against the prosecution.

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Am I Eligible for Alternative Sentencing?

In recent years, the State of California has pushed to expand its alternative sentencing programs. These programs are largely focused on reducing our state’s overcrowded prison population and expanding drug prevention. Generally, all DUIs have minimum sentencing guidelines, but judges often forgo jail time for first-time offenders. You may instead be offered informal probation or be required to attend a DUI deterrent program that is designed to treat drug addiction and may include rehabilitation. Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, your attorney may be able to have you entered into one of these programs instead of having to serve jail time.

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You Deserve a Fair Trial and Strong Defense

Being arrested for a DUI, whether it involves drugs or alcohol, can be a nerve-racking experience. You may be worried about losing your license, having to pay high penalties, serving jail time, and even losing your job, if you are a commercial driver. In any situation, you should do everything you can to fight back against the charges, which starts with contacting an experienced Vista criminal defense lawyer who can advocate for you.

At jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys, fighting DUI charges is our specialty, and we can utilize a variety of defenses on your behalf:

  • You were not intoxicated.
  • The arresting officer did not follow proper testing procedures.
  • The tests showed a false positive.
  • The arresting officer performed an illegal stop.

If you want to do all you can to stop a DUID conviction from weighing you down with numerous and excessive penalties, contact Vista DUI Attorney James N. Dicks of jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys by calling (760) 630-2000. You can even schedule a completely free case evaluation to begin working on your case.

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A note from James N. Dicks:

If you feel uncomfortable with an in-person meeting due to the recent surge in COVID-19, our office is offering remote appointments via phone and Zoom. Please call or email us to set up your appointment.


James N. Dicks
jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys

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COVID-19 Announcement

If you feel uncomfortable with an in-person meeting due to the recent surge in COVID-19, our office is offering remote appointments via phone and Zoom. Please call or email us to set up your appointment.

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