Law Offices of Jess C. Bedore III - Certified Specialist in Criminal Law
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Drugged driving increasing in California

California drunk driving statistics showed a decline in fatalities in the last four years, but there seems to be a disturbing trend with an increase of motorists testing positive for drugs -- legal and/or illegal that are the cause of more car accidents.

According to officials with the California Office of Traffic and Safety, in 2010, 30 percent of drivers killed in car accidents tested positive for drugs. Drivers need to be aware that illegal drugs as well as prescription medications can affect your driving in a negative way.

To combat this disturbing trend, the Office of Traffic Safety is teaming up with the California Highway Patrol to provide training for police officers on how to spot a drugged driver. Their goal is to make sure all officers can become drug recognition experts so that they can identify and remove those drug impaired drivers from the road.

Drugged driving has for the most part gone undetected because of the high cost of toxicology tests and therefore, goes unreported. Officials suspect the increase of drugged driving can be attributed to the legal use of marijuana as well as an increased use of prescription drugs that have more significant side effects.

If you have been pulled over for and charged with suspected drugged driving, you should seek the advice of a qualified criminal defense attorney. They could challenge the legality of the traffic stop and determine whether the arresting officer had probable cause to investigate. If you are charged, an attorney could seek alternative sentencing programs such as drug court, diversion or deferred entry of judgment programs and Proposition 36 deferred sentencing options.

Proposition 36 refers to a California law that dismisses charges after the defendant completes an 18 month drug treatment program. A powerful incentive of this program is that it allows someone who has been charged with drug possession to say that they have never been arrested, helping them to move forward with their life.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Drugged - not drunk - driving steadily rising in California," Feb. 28, 2012

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