OFFICIALS WARN THAT EVEN THOUGH RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA IS LEGAL AS OF JANUARY 1, 2018 THAT YOU CAN STILL GET A MARIJUANA DUI
Recreational marijuana is legal in California as of January 1, 208. However, driving under the influence of marijuana is still a crime under California Vehicle Code 23152(e). Driving under the influence of marijuana has always been illegal in California. However, law enforcement faces new challenges regulating such offenses now that marijuana will be commonplace. As a result, law enforcement is likely to devote more energy to enforce California’s marijuana DUI laws, since driving stoned is expected to be more of a problem now that recreational marijuana is legal.
There is no widely accepted method of detecting marijuana impairment, and officials have not yet disclosed standard procedure field sobriety tests with respect to marijuana. There is no legal threshold for the amount of marijuana that can be in a driver’s system. Authorities have previously announced plans to test cannabis breathalyzers and mouth swab tests, but statewide standards of practices have not yet been implemented. Currently, UC San Diego is doing research on marijuana DUI impairment, and is working with the CHP to come up with a way to measure the amount of active THC in a person’s blood in order to determine impairment. UC San Diego is also working on a simulator that can help police detect whether a person is too high to drive.
In Colorado, officials can use a blood test to detect whether a person has more than 5 nanograms of THC, per milliliter of blood. Officials in Colorado say 17 percent of DUIs in 2017 involved marijuana intoxication
While alcohol still is a leading factor in accident fatalities, authorities in California have seen an increase in drivers involved in fatal crashes. This number is expected to increase as recreational marijuana is now legal in California.
DUI MARIJUANA LAW
You commit DUI of marijuana if you drive a motor vehicle while your mental abilities are impaired by marijuana, to the extent that you are unable to drive with the caution of a sober person using ordinary care.
Vehicle Code 23152(e) VC reads: “(e) It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any drug [including marijuana] to drive a vehicle.”
Penalties and Legal Defenses for DUI marijuana
The consequences of a conviction for a first-time DUI of marijuana are the same as the California DUI penalties involving alcohol.
The more significant defenses in marijuana DUI are:
- You used marijuana, but you were no longer high when you drove;
- Your mental and physical abilities weren’t significantly impaired.While there is no conclusive study on impairment on marijuana DUIs, there is research being done to determine this. In the meantime, law enforcement is devoting a lot of energy on marijuana DUI arrests. The City Attorney is also taking a tough stance on marijuana DUI as a result of recreational marijuana being legal in California. Therefore, it is advisable that you not drive impaired as penalties are expected to be more severe. –Philip Cho
- LAW OFFICES OF JEFFERY RUBENSTEIN
- If you have been arrested for a marijuana DUI call us as we can help.