Bill Would Clarify DUI Laws for Pharmaceuticals, Pot

A state senator wants to tighten restrictions on driving under the influence of pharmaceuticals, steroids and controlled substances

By Christina Cocca
|  Wednesday, Feb 20, 2013  |  Updated 3:54 PM PDT
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State Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) wants to clarify DUI rules for prescription drugs, steroids and marijuana.

State Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) wants to clarify DUI rules for prescription drugs, steroids and marijuana.

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A bill aimed at clarifying California's laws on driving under the influence of controlled substances other than alcohol has been introduced in the state senate.

Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) said he wants to create better tools for prosecuting drivers under the influence of drugs.

Senate Bill 289 would exclude drivers with controlled substances in their blood if they have a prescription -- and are using the medication in accordance with that prescription, said Damon Conklin, press secretary for Correa’s office.

“If a person has a prescription, they would not be captured under SB 289,” Conklin said.

The exclusion would also protect users of medical marijuana.

However, DUI penalties would apply if drivers were under the influence of medication not prescribed specifically to them, he said.

If the bill passes, California would make it illegal for a person to drive a vehicle if his or her blood contains a detectable amount of Schedule I, II, III or IV drugs in the California Uniform Controlled Substance Act.

“If you have drugs in your system, you should not be on the road,” Correa said in a news release.

SB 289 is sponsored by the California State Sheriffs Association, the California Police Chiefs Association, the California Narcotics Officers Association and the International Faith Based Coalition, Conklin said.

The bill will go to a standing committee mid-March that will schedule SB 289 for a hearing. Supporters as well as potential opposition will then make a case and vote either in favor of or against the bill.

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