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Are there more DUIs for alcohol or drugs?

On Behalf of | Jun 2, 2024 | Drug Crimes

Drivers in California need to be aware that DUIs are not just for alcohol offenses. Overall, these charges can be handed out to any driver who is impaired behind the wheel. That impairment could also come from legal drugs like marijuana or illegal drugs like cocaine. In some cases, prescription medications will also count – especially if people are using them recreationally.

So how do things break down? Let’s take a quick look at the statistics from 2020, the last year on record in the California DUI management information system.

Alcohol use is the most common 

Overall, DUI arrests based on alcohol only still make up the largest percentage of the cases. In 2020, there were 882 such arrests in California. By comparison, there were 645 arrests in which drivers had only been using drugs. There were another 384 arrests in which drivers had been using drugs and alcohol. 

Drug cases can be more complex

One thing to keep in mind is that cases involving drugs may be more complicated than cases involving only alcohol. For example, a police officer can use a breath test to check for alcohol. But there is no breath test for drugs like marijuana or prescription painkillers. For those, police officers would have to use long-term drug tests, like hair tests. But those just show evidence of past usage – not impairment while driving.

Either way, getting arrested on impaired driving charges is something that all drivers need to take very seriously. It can have a major impact on their career and their future. They must know about all of their criminal defense options available to them.