At the beginning of 2022, the law regarding DUI diversion changed. DUIs are no longer eligible for diversion in California. Please contact our office with any questions. Email us at abortellaw@gmail.com OR Call us at: (415) 523-7878

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Law Firm of Aaron Bortel

Drug DUI Defense Law In San Francisco


What Are Possible Legal Defenses Specific To Driving Under The Influence Of Drugs Or Drug DUI Cases In San Francisco County?

There are several different defenses to drug DUI in San Francisco, the surrounding Bay area, and all of California. Yet, there are only two variables in every DUI case:

  • Were you driving?
  • Were you impaired?

If the arresting officer cannot prove you were driving in a DUI drug case, then that’s your attorney’s best defense. However, if the officer proves that you were behind the wheel and the car was moving, it’s called volitional movement.

The other issue the officer must prove for DUI is impairment. In almost every case, the officer can prove you were driving. Impairment by drugs can be hard to prove, though, because the officer’s observed symptoms could be from things other than drugs.

For example, DUI arrests often happen late at night or early morning. The symptoms the officer observed could also be symptoms of being tired or stressed. What’s more, people don’t always operate at their best when they get pulled over by police officers.

Consider that the police officer pulls you over, you’ve got flashing lights in your eyes, and they’re doing all these tests. You see badges, body cams, guns, and handcuffs. So it’s understandable when people have difficulty performing field sobriety tests.

The general public doesn’t know the rules for a field sobriety test, nor have they ever had to do one before. Add to the mix high stress levels, and you’ve got an unfair situation.

Field sobriety tests are not designed for drugs; they’re designed to detect impairment from alcohol. Field sobriety tests make it harder for the prosecution to prove you were impaired because the studies for the standardized field sobriety tests are for alcohol.

Have you ever had the field sobriety test explained to you? How do police score a person who’s taking a field sobriety test? Unfortunately, most people need to be aware that a field sobriety test is not scored as just pass or fail. Instead, the police use a point grading system that informs them that if you can’t perform the test, “the suspect likely has a BAC of ___ or greater.”

Officers will testify in an alcohol case that many clues arise when the accused doesn’t do the field sobriety tests correctly. Failing field sobriety tests equates to too many points against the accused on the DUI grading system. Then, the accused would likely be over the 0.08 limit by a certain percentage. They can’t do that with drugs.

Suppose the police suspect you of a drug DUI. In that case, they should have a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) do a special evaluation after the field sobriety tests. However, they rarely call in the DRE, which is a problem for the prosecution.

An effective DUI defense attorney can show what the police officers should have done to give a jury the evidence they need to decide whether drugs impaired the defendant.

Even if the police did call in the Drug Recognition Expert, your attorney could challenge the DRE’s opinion in court. The training the DREs get, the overall accuracy of their reporting for what drugs someone is on, and how they test people are not scientific.

We must be as close to 100% as possible in our conclusions when convicting a person of a crime. But, unfortunately, the DRE’s opinions are not even in the ballgame. Their statistics show that recognition experts are well below 50% when determining what drug someone is on.

The prosecution has problems when it relates to drug testing. Their problem is that they need to get the results showing a) drugs are present in the accused’s system and b) how much drug is in their system.

In a DUI case, there is always the question of what amount of drugs would impair someone to the point where they cannot drive with the care and caution of a sober person. To show that the amount of drugs in your system didn’t impair you, we bring in our experts to establish reasonable doubt.

Then, we cross-examine the prosecution’s experts to show that they cannot tell beyond a reasonable doubt that you were impaired. Nor can they prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were not driving with the care and caution of a sober person.

With the guidance of a skilled attorney for DUI Law Cases, you can have peace of mind knowing that the Law Firm of Aaron Bortel will make it look easy.

For more information on Drug DUI Defense Law in San Francisco, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you seek by calling his office today at (415) 523-7878.

Aaron Bortel

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