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California DUI of GHB (Gamma-Hydroxybutyric Acid)

The dangers of getting behind the wheel after a recent dose of GHB cannot be overstated.

As with alcohol, California Vehicle Code section 23152(a) outlaws driving under the influence of drugs or medication, imposing penalties that are mostly similar alcoholic DUI. Known as California DUI of Drugs or Medication, this means drugs and/or medication have so impaired a person's capacity that he cannot drive with the ability or caution of a reasonable sober person.

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"GHB" (gamma-hydroxybutyric acid) is a chemical depressant that can certainly diminish driver capacity to DUI levels. Extremely limited accepted medicinal purposes for GHB exist. As a result, it is overwhelmingly used illegally as a recreational drug that goes by nicknames including "G," "liquid ecstasy," "liquid X," "liquid E," and others.

People under the peak effects of GHB can exhibit signs of intoxication that include dizziness, peculiarly fixed face and eye expression, extreme lack of physical coordination, loss of muscle control, slurred/incoherent speech, and amnesia. The potential effects of a GHB overdose extend to coma-like loss of consciousness, suppressed breathing, seizure-like muscle spasms, and death in extreme cases. GHB's powerful sedative effects underlie its unfortunate nickname and use as a "date rape drug."

It's clear GHB is a very dangerous substance. However, it's also clear law enforcement brings California DUI of GHB charges that fail to hold up when properly defended. In particular, officers are likely to arrest drivers for California DUI of GHB automatically upon discovering it in their cars or on their person... even where required signs of intoxication are not evident. Similarly, prosecutors often act as if chemical DUI blood tests that are positive for GHB must be treated as conclusive proof of legal impairment when that's simply not true. GHB's impairing side-effects can wear off as soon as 4 hours, whereas its traces in the bloodstream may remain for 24 hours.

The point is, many of these situations produce weak or contestable California DUI of GHB allegations because (1) mere possession of GHB does not prove a driver was legally "under the influence" and (2) proof of GHB's presence in someone's system is not the last word on intoxication. Our Los Angeles DUI Lawyers observe that people facing California DUI of GHB charges are often rattled and scared. Sometimes, these feelings lead them to premature conclusions that their cases can't be effectively defended. They should not allow this to happen.

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Our Los Angeles DUI Lawyers are intimately familiar with defense strategies that simply aren't apparent to people immediately following the hardship of arrest for California DUI of GHB. People should at least consult with an attorney before making the important and permanent decision of how to respond to the charge.

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