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Driving while Under the Influence of Cocaine in Los Angeles

  • September 1, 2017

    While most people think of DUI charges in terms of alcohol, the effects of driving under the influence are attributed to a variety of drugs, including cocaine. According to the laws stipulated in the California Vehicle Code 23152 and 23153, it is illegal for anyone who is under the influence of a drug or alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle anywhere in California.

    How Cocaine Affects Your Driving

    While the effects of cannabis and alcohol are well known to most people, the effects of cocaine are barely obvious. Cocaine manifests itself in the following ways;

    • A rapid increase in energy levels.
    • A sharp increase in heart rate.
    • A rise in body temperature and blood pressure.
    • Inability to think straight and make quick decisions.
    • An altered state of perception and awareness.
    • Consistent blackout periods.
    • Sudden blindness.
    • Heart attack.

    The effects mentioned above can impair a person’s driving significantly. Rapid increase in energy levels may lead to impulsive behaviors such as suddenly increasing the speed of a car, over-speeding and braking sharply. The inability to think straight and make good decisions may cause the person to misjudge his speed and and fail to observe the road signs at a blind spot and intersection respectively. The car may also lose control and overturn if the person becomes blind suddenly, experiences a heart attack or develops consistent blackouts.

    How Law Enforcement Officers Determine if You are Under the Influence of Cocaine

    Determining if someone is under the influence of cocaine is difficult since the officers mainly depend on subject observations. Cocaine usually reaches its peak level after 30 minutes. It stays in the system for a period not exceeding 13 hours. This means that it is possible to detect the drug through a blood or urine test 13 hours before its effects wear off. If the blood test is done after the effects have worn off, the person is considered not impaired and is able to drive again. So, the time within which a person can be convicted of driving under the influence of cocaine is very crucial.

    Penalties for Driving Under the Influence of Cocaine

    Law enforcement agencies regard cocaine like any other drug, so you will be convicted of a drug DUI. If you are convicted of a drug DUI, you will get a wide range of penalties. These penalties include jail time, driving license suspension, probation, mandatory DUI education and hundreds of dollars in fees and fines. The penalties may become worse if you are a repeat offender. Since cocaine is listed in California Health Safety Code 11550, you will also be convicted of illegal drug use in addition to the DUI charges.

    Possible Defenses Against Driving Under the Influence of Cocaine

    There are a number of defenses you could pursue if you are charged with driving under the influence of cocaine. For example, you could check whether the blood or urine samples drawn from you were stored according to the procedural requirements. In most cases, they aren’t. You can use this to convince the judges to exclude the samples from your case.

    Another possible defense could involve exploring the behavioral explanations recorded by the officers who arrested you. These include stress, tiredness, anxiety or aggressiveness. You can also stage a defense that the concentration of cocaine in your system was not enough to impair your driving.

    Get a DUI Lawyer

    Do not attempt to defend a DUI case on your own. Most Los Angeles prosecutors are very aggressive and may force to unwillingly admit guilt. Talk to a DUI lawyer immediately and let him handle the case on your behalf. Get an attorney who has worked in similar cases and won many trials. Also, make sure the attorney specializes in DUI cases. Someone who concentrates on other areas of law will not give your case the proper attention and commitment it needs.

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