Return to CALJIC Part 14-17 – Contents
*Supplement CJ 16.831.1 as follows:
You may not convict defendant for driving while addicted to a substance which does not impair driving to an appreciable degree. A person is addicted to a drug when its continued use becomes the primary support of and motive for [his] [her] existence. Mere habitual or customary use which falls short of physical dependence does not constitute addiction.
Points & Authorities
The rationale for precluding addicts from driving is that they may experience physical infirmities resulting from “withdrawal symptoms” or “abstinence syndrome” which “renders the individual a potential danger on the highway.” (People v. O’Neil (65) 62 C2d 748, 752-54 [44 CR 320].) Because “habitual or customary use” does not create the type of dependence necessary for withdrawal symptoms or abstinence syndrome, the trier of fact must not equate habitual use with addiction. (O’Neil 62 C2d at 755-57.) Moreover, because VC 312 defines “drug” as a substance which impairs driving to an appreciable degree, it follows that the above supplementary instruction–taken from the language in O’Neil 62 C2d at 756 and People v. Victor (65) 62 C2d 280, 303 [42 CR 199] — assures that the jury will properly understand this distinction.
In People v. Schade REV GTD/DISD/DEPUB (94) 25 CA4th 1605, 1635-36 [32 CR2d 59], the court recognized the need to define addiction and recommended use of the definition contained in CJ 12.45. However, this was in a case charging a violation of HS 11153 (illegal prescription to an addict). When driving is involved, other aspects of addiction (e.g., “withdrawal symptoms” and “abstinence syndrome”) are relevant and, therefore, the FORECITE definition of addiction should be given in a VC 23152(c) prosecution.)
Failure to adequately instruct the jury upon matters relating to proof of any element of the charge and/or the prosecution’s burden of proof thereon violates the defendant’s state (Art. I, § 15 and § 16) and federal (6th and 14th Amendments) constitutional rights to trial by jury and due process. [See generally, FORECITE PG VII.]
Drugs Not Causing Physical Dependency. The O’Neil court recognized that certain drugs (e.g., amphetamines) do not create physical dependence and, therefore, addiction to those drugs should be “defined in terms of emotional or psychological dependence only.” (O’Neil 62 C2d at 754, fn 10; see also People v. Beasley (83) 145 CA3d 16, 21 [193 CR 86].) Hence, because physical dependence causes the withdrawal symptoms or abstinence syndrome which trigger the potential danger on the highway (O’Neil 62 C2d at 753), VC 23152(c) should not apply to drugs which do not produce such physical dependence.
Given that the O’Neil and Victor cases are quite old, it may be useful to consult an expert as to modern developments regarding addiction.
See Annotation, Automobiles: Driving under the influence, or when addicted to the use, of drugs as criminal offense, 17 ALR3d 815 and Later Case Service.
Addiction Defined: Withdrawal Must Impair Driving
*Add at end of ¶ 3 of CJ 16.831.1b:
… which withdrawal symptoms would impair the defendant’s driving to an appreciable degree if [he] [she] experienced the symptoms while driving.
Points & Authorities
As set forth in FORECITE F 16.831.1a, the rationale for precluding addicts from driving — even if they are not under the influence of a drug (VC 23152(c)) — is that the withdrawal symptoms may render the individual “a potential danger on the highway.” (People v. O’Neil (65) 62 C2d 748, 752-54 [44 CR 320].) Hence, because a drug is defined in terms of whether it impairs driving “to an appreciable degree” (VC 312), it follows that the prosecution must prove that defendant’s withdrawal symptoms would have impaired his driving to an appreciable degree. (See also FORECITE F 16.831.1a.) (But see FORECITE F 16.831 n1.)
Failure to adequately instruct the jury upon matters relating to proof of any element of the charge and/or the prosecution’s burden of proof thereon violates the defendant’s state (Art. I, § 15 and § 16) and federal (6th and 14th Amendments) constitutional rights to trial by jury and due process. [See generally, FORECITE PG VII(C).]
The prosecution does not have to prove that defendant was actually in withdrawal when he was driving. (O’Neil 62 C2d at 754.)