Most people would likely associate DUI with alcohol, however, driving under the influence of marijuana is also illegal in California. If you are impaired to the point that you are unable to safely operate your vehicle, you may be cited for DUI in the event you are pulled over by law enforcement. Penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana vary. A first offense could include a maximum of six months in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, restricted license, and probation. If you are under 21 years old you could lose your license for one year and have to attend a DUI program. It is important to note that medical marijuana patients are not exempt from marijuana DUI laws.
Marijuana DUI cases
Unlike alcohol related DUI, marijuana DUI cases can be difficult for the prosecution to prove. Drunk driving cases are based on the standard measurement of blood alcohol level, the legal limit being .08%. However, in marijuana DUI cases there is no legal standard for the amount of THC that establishes impairment. Studies have shown that the use of alcohol and marijuana simultaneously greatly increases your chance of becoming impaired. In court, such cases would be less defensible.
Refuse to answer questions
If you are pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence of marijuana you can refuse to answer any questions or take field sobriety tests. Such questions may include when or if you used marijuana. Answering questions about marijuana use can be very damaging to your legal defense. If you are arrested you will be required to take a breathalyzer, and/or blood or urine test if requested. If you refuse to take a chemical test as requested you will face license suspension for one year.
Testing for Marijuana DUI
Breathalyzer tests do not register THC; therefore it is advisable to take a breathalyzer test if it is requested. You should also consider the following when blood or urine testing is requested:
- Experts indicate that THC is typically detectable in the blood for up to two days.
- Urine can show a positive marijuana result for up to 35 days or more
In order for you to be convicted of driving under the influence of marijuana, impairment has to be established. The presence of marijuana in a test result does not necessarily establish impairment, which is required to prove a DUI case.
If you have questions about marijuana DUI we encourage you to contact our office today at (559) 222-5800.