California’s DUI laws can be complex and confusing. In this section, our attorneys break down the rules and explain the process.
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California heroin law prohibits a variety of heroin-related offenses. Two of these that may cause some confusion include California’s law against being under the influence of heroin and driving under the influence of heroin.
According to California law, Health and Safety Code 11550, you are under the influence of heroin when your physical and/or mental abilities are impaired in “any detectable manner.” 1
It isn’t necessary that you misbehave or engage in other criminal activity. Simply being under the influence of heroin is a crime in and of itself.
Per California Vehicle Code 23152f VC, people violate California’s law against driving under the influence of heroin when they:
This means that driving under the influence requires a higher level of intoxication than being under the influence.
So even if you are caught driving when the officer suspects you are under the influence of heroin, the prosecutor could opt to charge you with being under the influence since that is an easier charge to prove.
Note that a charge of being under the influence of heroin also potentially allows you the opportunity to participate in a California drug diversion program, whereas a driving under the influence charge does not. (Also, see our article about the difference between marijuana possession, DUI of marijuana, and driving while in possession of marijuana in California law.)
A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.
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