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Is it illegal to drive under the influence of drugs in the State of California

23152(f) VC is the California code that makes driving under the influence of drugs illegal, however it is also illegal across the entire United States. This is due to obvious safety concerns, however the nuances of this law can be complicated, so this article will attempt to clarify what is considered a DUID in California. If you still have questions or would like more information after reading this article, please contact us.

What is a DUID under California Vehicle Code 23152(f) VC?

In short, you are considered to be driving under the influence of drugs once your driving has been impaired as a result of taking some kind of drug. Note that it does not matter the legality of the drug itself. You could have taken a prescribed medicine or over the counter drug, but if your driving abilities were affected because of this, you are still responsible. These drugs could be methamphetamine, sleeping pills, marijuana, etc. 

Does 23152(f) VC include alcohol as a drug?

Though many would consider alcohol to be a drug, this substance is not covered by 23152(f) VC. Of course, this does not mean that it is legal to drink and drive, but rather the use of alcohol is covered by another code. There is also another code (23152(g) VC) that makes driving under the influence of both alcohol and another drug to be illegal.

What kind of crime is a DUID under California law?

Typically, DUIDs are categorized as misdemeanors and are punished the same as DUIs, however under certain circumstances they may also be charged as felonies. This can occur as a result of the following:

  • The driver injured someone whilst driving under the influence
  • The driver had a prior DUI felony conviction
  • The driver has had at least three prior DUI convictions.


By now you should have a basic understanding of what a DUID is and how it pertains to California law. Regardless of whether the drug being used is legal, prescribed, or illegal, any substance that is capable of impairing one’s ability to safely drive should never be taken before getting behind the wheel. However, if you are currently being tried for charges of driving under the influence of drugs, please consider reaching out to us so that we may discuss how you can be defended in court.

Regardless of the classification of the offense, it is important that you seek the assistance of competent legal counsel to help you best understand your legal defense while identifying an outcome that best minimizes your risk. We here at the H Law Group patiently await your call.

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