DUI with injury – will you be charged if you have drugs in your system?
What if you were involved in an accident that involved bodily injury to somebody? Can they take your blood and test it for alcohol and/or drugs? What if there are traces of drugs in your system, but from days or weeks before?
Under the “implied consent” law, by having a driver’s license in California, you have consented to submit to a chemical test for alcohol and/or drugs if you are arrested for driving under the influence.
If a person was involved in a collision and the officer determined that alcohol and/or drugs was a contributing factor, and you’re arrested for DUI as a result, they have the right to request a blood sample be drawn for evidence.
You’re right that some drugs can stay in the system longer than alcohol typically does. It will be up to the DA to prove that whatever was in your system affected your ability to drive. The twist is that there are no levels for things like marijuana (THC) or even prescription or recreational drugs like there are for alcohol.
The DA would need expert testimony from a criminalist that whatever was found in your system put you “under the influence” for the purpose of driving.
Marijuana DUI cases are notoriously tough for the DA for the reasons you mentioned in your question – the length of time THC shows up in a test.
The other part of this is that whatever drug is in your system must have influenced your ability to drive. For example, if it was established that you were 100% NOT at fault in an accident, but THC was discovered in your system, how can they say that whatever level was in your system made you under the influence (and therefore unable to safely drive, which is required for a DUI)? That can be different than if the scenario was the same, but your blood test came back 0.10% for alcohol, since it’s a violation to drive with 0.08% or more in your system (and that section – 23152(b) of the Vehicle Code), even without “bad” driving.
The bottom line? Drug DUI cases add a new twist to a DUI case and a thorough analysis of the facts, chemical tests, legality of the arrest and blood sample collection will all be needed by your defense attorney.