Better Call Glew: Driving While Anxious
Jay Brockman

Better Call Glew: Driving While Anxious

Hi Mr. Glew,

I was arrested for a drug DUI after taking anxiety medication and driving my car. How can the prosecution show I was "under the influence" if there is no level for prescription meds like the .08% for alcohol?

While there is a bright line rule for alcohol DUI's, 0.08%, there is no such rule for controlled substances, prescription medications, or even over -the-counter medications. An individual will test positive, for most drugs, for several days, to several months, depending on the substance. The important thing to carry away is that you may test positive for a drug days, weeks, or even months after using it, when the drug is no longer psychoactive.

*See also:

Better Call Glew: Cycling Under the Influence. Really?
Drug DUI's differ from their alcohol counterparts in that there is no per se level of intoxication for drugs, as there is for alcohol. In a drug DUI, a prosecutor must prove that the drug was in your system, the drug caused impairment at the time you drove, and your driving was so impaired by the drug that you could not operate a motor vehicle with the care and caution of a sober person.     

All the medical marijuana patients and stoners out there take notice: the Orange County District Attorney's Office now has special prosecutors, whose only purpose is to prosecute marijuana DUI's. I highly recommend hiring an experienced DUI attorney because these cases are very complex, and involve a great degree of scientific analysis. If you go into court and expect to handle this on your own, you will almost assuredly lose.   

Send all questions to And remember, Better Call Glew!

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