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Marijuana DUI

Marijuana DUI

There is a strong likelihood that California will legalize marijuana for recreational purposes in November. California Proposition 64, the California Marijuana Legalization Initiative, will be on the ballot November 8, 2016. While many are excited about the prospect of legalized marijuana, law enforcement is already preparing for more DUI cases involving marijuana

What is a Marijuana DUI in California?

Under California Vehicle Code section 23152(e), it is unlawful for a person who is under the Influence of any drug to drive a motor vehicle. Legally, this means that the person lacks the “Ability to drive with the caution characteristic of a sober person of ordinary prudence under the same or similar circumstances.”
Marijuana DUIs can be difficult to establish. Blood tests cannot prove how recently someone smoked marijuana; just that they did at some point. Therefore, it is difficult to establish a relationship between someone’s THC blood concentration levels and the impairment effects it has on driving.

Because there is no bright line rule, such as .08 percent, marijuana DUIs will typically involve a combination of driving patterns, field sobriety tests, statements made regarding smoking marijuana, objective signs of smoking, physical appearance, and a blood test for marijuana to establish impairment.

Drug Recognition Evaluator

When an officer suspects someone is driving under the influence of marijuana, he or she will call for a Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE). The DRE will look for an elevated pulse rate, dilated pupils, odor of marijuana, elevated blood pressure, dry mouth, short term memory impairment, tremors, and a relaxed demeanor. If the DRE concludes that the driver is under the influence, they will be arrested.

Of course, an allegation for marijuana DUI always starts with the stop of the vehicle. If the stop and detention is unconstitutional, all evidence after the stop may be inadmissible in court. If you have been charged with DUI involving marijuana, contact my office today. I will provide a free, confidential consultation.