Recent Results:

Client facing 15 years for Armed Robbery we proved misidentification Judge DISMISSED the case!

Client allegedly sold rock cocaine to undercover officer faced 10 years following our argument client received NO JAIL TIME!

Police allegedly discovered 3 bags of marijuana in client's glove box faced 6 years we filed a 1538.5 motion to suppress resulting in DISMISSAL of all charges!

Client's estranged girlfriend alleged Client broke into her room and choked her facing 14 years in State Prison we won at trial JURY ACQUITTAL.

Strike case: Client charged with possession of methamphetamine facing 25 years we filed a Romero Motion which was granted case REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR!

Client facing 3 life terms for multiple felony counts of Child Molestation and Sodomy with child we proved the charges were fabricated by victims mother DISMISSAL of all charges at preliminary hearing!

Client facing 5 years for possession of deadly weapon we negotiated a plea for NO JAIL TIME!

Multiple defendants each facing 7 years charged with smuggling prescription drugs into California from Mexico our client was the only defendant who received NO JAIL TIME!

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DUI Marijuana: California Vehicle Code 23152(a)             

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) (California Vehicle Code §23152(a)

In California, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of any substance, lawfully possessed or not, if the substance used causes physical or mental impairment that makes a person unable to drive safely. Most commonly, California DUI statutes are applied to those driving under the influence of alcohol but not exclusively. The law covers all controlled substances, including marijuana, as well as, contrary to some common misconceptions, perfectly lawful substances such as a long list of prescription drugs available on the market today. Medical marijuana users must be aware that they are not exempt from DUI laws by reason of their medical status.

In California, first time DUI offense prosecuted under §23152(a) is a misdemeanor punishable by maximum of 6 months in county jail, a fine between $390 and $1,000, mandatory alcohol program, suspended or restricted license and 3 year probation. If the prosecution involves a person under 21, conviction will result in 1 year license suspension. If the impaired driving results in bodily injury or death, even the first time offense can be prosecuted as a felony punishable by imprisonment in state prison.

Marijuana DUI Cases are Easier to Defend than Alcohol DUI Cases

Fora skilled lawyer, itis easier to defend marijuana-related DUI cases than cases where alcohol is involved. In drunk driving prosecution, the defendant is presumptively guilty when the blood alcohol level is 0.08 percent or more. By contrast, there is no set legal threshold - no "guilty" standard for the THC level detected in the defendant's system - for when a person is presumptively impaired when using marijuana. This lack of a bright line standard makes it more difficult for the prosecution to prove their case. In addition, an effective, diligent and knowledgeable attorney can often defend these cases successfully by relying on experts and various studies showing lack of scientific agreement on when marijuana causes impairment. Scientific and expert literature on the subject contains data that there is no impairment if the ingestion took place more than 2 to 3 hours before driving. Among the best defense tools is the government's own National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation which in 2003 published a cannabis safety study concluding that any effects from using marijuana dissipate quickly after one hour! Also potentially available, although not always advisable, is the so-called heavy user defense based on the idea that heavy use builds tolerance to impairment.

A good criminal defense lawyer will often exploit the lack of sophistication, and sometimes simple incompetence, of prosecution's testing laboratories. Test results often will reveal nothing more than the presence of marijuana metabolites without having differentiated between various kinds. Metabolites are byproducts created after metabolization. They might or might not be psychoactive and they are not the same as the active drug. The tests might not be able to distinguish between, for example, the highly potent 11-OH-THC metabolite and the non-psychoactive THC-COOH (carboxy THC) which is marijuana's primary metabolite and which does not cause impairment. Presence of nonactive metabolites does not indicate either impairment or recency or frequency of use.

Alcohol and Marijuana Increases for Potential Impairment

Note, however, that presence of marijuana would not make your case easier if you also consumed alcohol, even at less than 0.08 percent blood alcohol level necessary for a conviction for alcohol related drunk driving. It has been shown, and the prosecution will most certainly argue, that using both alcohol and marijuana significantly increases potential for impairment.

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Office Locations

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Law Offices of David S. Chesley, Inc.
A Professional Law Corporation
4533 Van Nuys Boulevard, Second Floor
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

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