Marijuana DUI California
Driving Under the Influence
It’s common knowledge that drinking and driving is dangerous not just for the person behind the wheel, but for anyone on the road. But what about smoking marijuana and driving?
A DUI for drugs is considered driving under the influence of drugs, and this includes marijuana.
In November 2015 about 65 percent of voters in California approved proposition 64 to legalize the recreational use of marijuana for adults 21 years of age and older. The legal amount to possess is one ounce, eight grams or six plants.
The law will take effect January 2018, although medical marijuana use has been legal since 2006. When the use of recreational marijuana takes effect how will it affect drivers?
Marijuana DUIs will remain a crime even though California passed proposition 64 and law enforcement will devote resources to enforcement.
The Effect of Marijuana While Driving
While the effect of driving under the influence of marijuana isn’t as bad as alcohol, studies show a direct relationship between blood THC concentration and impaired driving ability.
Marijuana affects motor coordination, slows reaction times and affects a driver’s ability to make decisions. Unfortunately the effect of marijuana may not seem as serious, evidence by the fact that teenage drivers are twice as likely to drive after smoking pot as they are after drinking.
Marijuana DUI California
Proof of Impairment
There is implied consent in California, meaning that all motorists are obligated to submit to chemical testing of their blood alcohol levels if the arresting office has probably cause to believe you were driving under the influence marijuana.
Field Sobriety tests would be the main form of testing after being pulled over. It may be difficult to prove what constitutes marijuana DUI, since blood tests can’t prove when you consumed marijuana, unlike breathalyzer tests for alcohol consumption.
Additional tests may include: blood, urine and oral swabs or saliva tests.
The charge and conviction would take into account a combination of driving patterns, physical appearance, performance of the field sobriety test and a blood test.
The consequences are the same as those for California DUIs involving alcohol. First-time offenders may:
- Receive 3-5 years probation
- Receive county jail time for between 96 hours and 6 months
- Be fined between $390 and $1000
- Have their license suspended for 6 months
In California you have ten days from the date of your DUI arrest to request a hearing before the DMV to determine whether your license should be suspended.
Contacting an experienced DUI lawyer right away is essential to protecting your rights and understanding your options.