The push to legalize cannabis and marijuana continues throughout the United States. However, the State of California still has strict rules regarding driving under the influence of any substance that would impair a driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle. While marijuana use has been decriminalized in California, marijuana impairment while driving is still against the law.
Common Questions Surrounding Marijuana Use and Driving
Many Californians are unsure of how the use of marijuana can be used against them if a police officer determines that they are driving under the influence of this drug. The following are examples of common questions that surround marijuana use while driving a motor vehicle.
- Can I be convicted of a DUI for marijuana even though it is legal? Yes. Possessing a small amount of marijuana has been decriminalized in the State of California, however, if a police officer determines that you were impaired from the use of marijuana you can be charged with a DUI. You can even be charged with a DUI if you have a valid prescription for marijuana. The question surrounding a DUI is not the legality of the drug, but if the driver using the drug was impaired while operating a motor vehicle.
- How much marijuana will constitute impairment? There is no “per se” or established amount of marijuana in a person’s system that will constitute impairment in the State of California.
- If there is no established amount of THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) that the police will use to determine impairment, how will the police determine if I am impaired? The police will use evidence of your conduct while driving, and after the police stop to determine if you are unable to operate a motor vehicle safely. Some of the evidence may include your driving conduct while on the roadway, statements you make to the police officer, your demeanor and behavior towards the police officer, the odor of marijuana, the existence of marijuana in your vehicle, and your performance on field sobriety tests .
Penalties for Marijuana DUIs
The following are the penalties in California for marijuana DUIs.
- First offense: 96 hours to six months in jail; fines of $390 to $1000; license suspension of six months; DUI program completion
- Second offense (within 10 years): 90 days to one year in jail; fine of $390 to $1000; license suspension for two years; DUI program completion
- Third offense (within 10 years): 120 days to one year in jail; fine of $390 to $1000; license suspension of three years; ignition interlock device required; DUI program completion
- Fourth and subsequent offenses (within 10 years): 180 days to one year; fine of $390 to $1000; license suspension of four years; ignition interlock device required; DUI program completion
Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you were arrested and charged with a Marijuana DUI, you should get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Contact our legal team at The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann at 714-294-0568 or online today for your free consultation.