Pursuant to the provisions of California Vehicle Code § 23152(a) “it is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle.”
A person is considered to be under the inﬂuence if as a result of taking a drug, his or her mental or physical abilities are so impaired that he or she is no longer able to drive a vehicle with the caution of a sober person, using ordinary care, under similar circumstances.
Studies have shown that marijuana can impair driving ability and, in addition, it should be noted that person driving under the influence of marijuana risks to be charged with:
– Possession of Marijuana (Health & Safety Code 11357(b))
– Possession of Marijuana While Driving (Vehicle Code 23222)
It is very hard to prove that the defendant was under the influence of drugs while driving. The evidence for the prosecutor to prove the guilt of a defendant is composed of the amount of consumed marijuana fixed by DRE, the concentration of THC (also known as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) which is the essential element of marijuana, physical appearance of a driver, results of DUI sobriety tests and chemical tests.
If the defendant was legally entitled to use the drug, it is not considered as a defense. Thus, it does not matter whether the drugs are illegal or prescribed by doctor. The essential circumstance is that the driver under the influence of marijuana and it results that he or she can no more drive a vehicle with the caution of a sober person. However, there is no stated excessive blood toxicity level which is able to show whether the driver is able to use his mental and physical abilities as a sober person or none.
There are some particularities in testifying of the suspected being intoxicated in the terms of the investigation of a California DUI of drugs. If it seems to the patrol that a driver is intoxicated, the law enforcement officer calls DRE (drug recognition expert) who has to identify whether the driver is under the influence of marijuana or not. A DRE (drug recognition expert) is a law enforcement officer who is a specially trained to evaluate when a suspect is under the influence of drugs.
There are various defenses for California DUI Marijuana charges. It is almost impossible to prove the impairment of the driving abilities under the influence of marijuana. In addition, there is no per se law which sets forth the amount of the used marijuana in order to be considered as driving under the influence of marijuana. An experienced attorney will help you to reduce or dismiss charges for DUI Marijuana in California and start a new life of a law-abiding citizen.
Driving under the influence of marijuana can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, that is to say it is a “wobbler”. The penalties depend on the criminal history of the person as well as specific circumstances of the offense.
In most cases the DUI drugs will be charged as a felony in the following circumstances:
– It is 4th or subsequent DUI conviction of the driver;
– There is prior felony DUI conviction;
– The driver caused an accident with injuries.
The conviction of the DUI of marijuana may result in the same penalties as an “ordinary” DUI (depending on the county):
– up to five years of summary probation;
– pay a fine of $390, plus penalty assessments;
– a DUI school;
– a suspension of the driver license for a period up to three years that may be upgraded to a “restricted” privilege;
– a jail sentence or work release.
Moreover, the judge can set some additional penalties on a third time DUI drugs in California, i.e., attendance at AA meetings or alcohol treatment program, community service, or attendance at a victim “impact” meeting.
The Margarian Law Firm aggressively protects the rights of criminal defendants in California. If you need more information about DUI Marijuana in California do not hesitate to contact us. Each defense will be developed upon the facts of your individual case. All information entrusted us will be confidential and private. Each defense will be developed upon the facts of your individual case.
You may file your request online, by telephone or by mail. 818-553-1000
California DUI Bail
1st DUI Penalties
2nd DUI Penalties
3rd DUI Penalties
DUI Punishments by county
California’s Alternative DUI Sentences
DUI Sobriety Tests
California Marijuana Laws
Possession of Marijuana (Health & Safety Code 11357(b))
California Drug Diversion Programs