On Nov. 6, 1996, the California Compassionate Use Act, Proposition 215
went into effect as California Health & Safety Code 11362.5, making
it legal for a California-licensed physician to recommend marijuana to
their patients. This made it legal for patients to possess and cultivate
marijuana for their personal medical use with their doctor’s blessing.
On January 1, 2004, SB420 went into effect, broadening Prop. 215. This
newest piece of legislation under California H&SC at the time that
established a state ID card system, which was to be run through county
health departments throughout the state.
While using marijuana for medical purposes may be legal in California,
a person found driving under the influence of marijuana may be subjected
to the same penalties that they would have if they were driving under
the influence of alcohol.
Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana
While driving under the influence of alcohol has a specific BAC that shows
how impaired a driver may be, there is currently
no legislation on how much THC must be in a person's system before they
are declared unfit to drive. For a person to be convicted of
DUI for marijuana, it must be proven that they were:
- Driving a vehicle
- Under the influence of marijuana when driving
- Impaired from using the caution of a sober person due to marijuana use
Some common ways a
DUI defense attorney can defend a driver of being under the influence of marijuana
is to prove that the person: 1) did not use marijuana, 2) used marijuana
but was not under the influence when they drove, or 3) that they used
marijuana but did not experience significant mental and physical impairments.
Even if an officer asks a driver that has been pulled over to take a
blood or urine test to determine their levels of THC, there is no reliable way to prove
when a person had used the drug.
The main component in marijuana, THC, is fat-soluble, meaning that it is
stored if a person's fat even after they are no longer high. For a
regular user, marijuana that was consumed a few days or even weeks prior
may appear on tests even if the user had not consumed marijuana since.
The current laws and views on marijuana are rapidly changing, and they
often create many difficulties for prosecutors to prove that drivers were
considered too high to drive. Our experienced attorneys can work to seize
these opportunities for the benefit clients, and can create customized
defense strategies that protect your rights and future.
If you have been charged with a DUI related to marijuana, know that there
are available defenses to your case. An attorney at the Law Offices of
Virginia L. Landry, Inc. can work with you to create a solid defense that
can prevent serious and life-changing consequences from a DUI conviction.
Facing drug-related DUI charges?
Contact us today for a
free case evaluation!