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Tiger Woods Accused of DUI for Allergic Reaction to Prescription Drugs Is Not a Defense to a DUI
Golfer Tiger Woods was arrested on Memorial Day in Florida for suspicion of driving under the influence of a controlled substance. In the State of California this charge would be filed under a VC 23152(e); which is specifically designated for DUI cases where prescriptions drugs are involved and no alcohol is present.
It is still illegal to be driving under the influence of drugs in any state and each state treats the penalties for a DUI differently depending on the jurisdiction. In San Diego, these cases can result in a 5-year probationary period with significant fines and classes required to get your license back. Often times these cases are expert specific where a forensic toxicologist would be necessary to testify in a case where the amount of the controlled substance in the defendant’s blood stream at the time of driving would be the most critical part of the case.
These cases are subjective because there is no per se law for the amount of the prescription drug someone would need to have in their system before it is determined they are impaired. For drugged driving cases it depends on the interpretation one makes regarding the impact the drug would have on the driver at the time of driving. Most likely a blood test was conducted at the station and is sent for analysis at the Florida Sheriff’s crime lab.
The amount of drugs in someone’s system is measured in nanograms per milliliter. It will be interesting to see the amount of the controlled substance in Tiger’s bloodstream at the time. Most prosecutor expert toxicologists will testify any amount above 500 nanograms per milliliter is enough for a person to be under the influence of that controlled substance at the time of driving.
An allergic reaction to the controlled substance or prescription drug is not a defense in a DUI case. It will come down to how a jury interprets the expert testimony and how Tiger Woods performed on the field sobriety examination.
The field sobriety test is a combination of balancing tests and nystagmus examinations to indicate the probability of impairment. Field sobriety test on their own are not enough to prove someone is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. It will be up to a jury to decided under the totality of circumstances if Tiger Wood’s toxicology report in combination with the field sobriety test and driving patterns at the time are enough to determine he was under the influence at the time of driving.
If you have questions regarding a DUI case in San Diego, attorney Vik Monder specializes in cases involved with drugged driving in San Diego County. Feel free to contact him anytime at 619-405-0063 or visit San Diego Criminal Lawyer