The state of California has imposed strict penalties for the Driving Under Influence (DUI) also known as Driving while Intoxicated (DWI). The DUI is charged as a misdemeanor or even a felony based on the seriousness of the offense and number of offenses.
However, the driving under the influence law does not only include alcoholic substances, but it also covers any legal or illegal substances that can cause impairment in person and may affect driving. All these substances are above the rule of possession, and even if you did not possess any of these substances at the time of pullover, you could still be charged under Vehicle Code 23152(a).
The law covers all controlled substances like marijuana even though the state has passed the law that allows the recreational marijuana. Apart from r substances, one should not remain in any misconception about legal and prescribed drugs including medical marijuana. Even if you have been using marijuana for medical purposes, it does not prohibit you from being charged for DUI offense.
Penalties for DUI Marijuana
If you have been arrested for DUI marijuana, you can expect the penalty of
- Probation for three (3) to five (5) years,
- Jail term between 96 hours to six months.
- A financial penalty of $390 to $1000
- And A suspension of the driving license for up to six months.
In the case of a DUI marijuana case, you can request for a restricted to-from work license after 30 days for the first offense, after 90 days in second offense, and after one year in the third offense.
If the DUI marijuana case involves an injury or a property damage, it can be charged as the misdemeanor or even felony with particularly harsh sentences for a jail term of up to 3 years and increased fines.
Procedure After you are Pulled Over for DUI Marijuana
When you are pulled over under the suspicion of DUI marijuana, the office will ask you to take a voluntary preliminary screening test by blowing into the breathalyzer. You can refuse to take this test.
After your arrest, a blood sample will be drawn for a chemical test at the police station or hospital. It is an obligatory test, and you cannot refuse this test without getting ‘enhanced sentence.’ The enhancement may cause increased jail time and suspension of the driving license for a longer period.
Reliability of Chemical Tests:
The chemical test for the marijuana are not very reliable and are still contested. Apart from this, there is no hard limit for marijuana which is above the legal limit. For example, BAC above 0.08 is illegal, but there is no set limit for marijuana.
The chemical tests do not provide accurate results about when marijuana was used and how much amount was consumed. Apart from this, it is still contested that how much amount of marijuana causes impairment or stoned effect, because of the varying tolerance level.
The tests detect delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”) which is the chemical responsible for giving the high effect. According to the studies, the THC level increased rapidly with the consumption of marijuana. The high-effect of marijuana only lasts from one to two hours, and after five or six hours, any psychological or physical effects are washed off.
Available Defenses in DUI Marijuana:
As experienced defense attorneys, we have various instances of the successful defense of DUI marijuana cases. It is relatively easy to defend a DUI marijuana because of the contested nature of results and no hard limit for consumption.