The terms “drunk driving” and “DUI” are often used interchangeably. If you hear that someone got a DUI, you may assume that it means they were drinking alcohol and then decided to drive.
Much of the time, that’s exactly what it means, but the term technically refers to far more than just alcohol. Remember that DUI means “driving under the influence,” and you could be influenced by something other than beer, wine or liquor. California specifically states that you could have consumed “other substances” that would lead to an arrest.
Even legal drugs can violate DUI laws
One thing to note is that even legal drugs can get you in trouble with the law if you are impaired; it’s not just things like heroin or cocaine that are illegal. For instance, you could be taking prescription painkillers. They’re legal since you got the prescription from your doctor, but you may have been ordered not to drive after taking them because of how they impact your mental state. If those medicines lead to impairment, showing the officer that you have a prescription isn’t going to stop the charges.
Likewise, marijuana use has been legalized in California and many other states, even on a recreational basis. It’s best to think of this just like alcohol. Yes, you can use it, but the mere fact that it is now legal does not mean you can’t get picked up on DUI charges if you drive after smoking or consuming edibles.
What should you do if you’re facing charges?
The impact DUI charges can have on your life is massive. Be sure you know what legal steps you can take moving forward to best protect your interests, your rights and your future.