Orange County Marijuana DUI Attorney
Were You Arrested For Driving Under The Influence?
According to California Vehicle Code 23152(e) VC, driving under the influence
of marijuana is a crime, even after the legalization of recreational marijuana
via Proposition 64. Although marijuana is now legal in California for
both medical and recreational purposes, law enforcement will likely increase
their efforts to identify and prosecute stoned drivers.
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana,
the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. can help. The defenses against
marijuana smoking and driving are strong, and often result in a complete
dismissal of charges or a reduction to an infraction such as reckless driving.
Call our office today for a
free and confidential consultation.
Penalties for Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana
A conviction for driving under the influence of marijuana in California
can result in the following penalties for a first offense:
- Up to six months in jail
- A fine of up to $1,000
- A driver’s license suspension of up to 10 months
- Three or nine months of DUI school
If an intoxicated driver causes an accident that results in injury or death,
the driver will face enhanced penalties. Felony DUI of marijuana can result
in 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in state prison, a fine of up o $1,000,
a 4-year license suspension, and 18 to 30 months of DUI school.
Marijuana Possession & Traffic Offenses: Potential Defenses
There are strong defenses for those arrested for driving under the influence
of marijuana, but there may be additional charges that come with this,
such as possession of marijuana. If an individual can prove that the marijuana
on their person or in their vehicle was prescribed for medical use, then
they will likely not face possession charges, but can still face the possibility
of a DUI of drugs conviction. Possession of marijuana in small amounts
for personal use, even without a prescription, is only considered an infraction
in the state of California. An infraction is similar to a speeding ticket
and is the lowest level offense possible under California law.
Legal defenses to DUI of marijuana include:
- The defendant wasn’t driving
- The defendant did not use marijuana
- The defendant used marijuana, but was no longer high at the time of driving
- The defendant’s physical and mental abilities were not impaired
- The defendant was a victim of an unlawful police stop
It is not a valid defense that a defendant had a legal right to use marijuana.
Vehicle Code 23152(e) states that it is illegal to drive under the influence of
any drug that impairs driving ability, whether or not the drug is legal.
Studies on Marijuana Intoxication & Driving
A study published in the British Medical Journal has concluded that marijuana
use can increase the risk of a car crash. This, however, is not new information
by any means. The article, "Acute Cannabis Consumption and Motor
Vehicle Collision Risk: Systematic Review of Observational Studies and
Meta-Analysis," is a recapitulation of previous work published by
other researchers. The authors created selection criteria for crash risk
studies involving cannabis use. Out of over 2,975 studies, only nine fit
their criteria, which turned out to comprise a mix of case-control and
culpability studies, some looking at fatal crashes and some at injury crashes.
The authors then combined the data from the nine studies, seven of which
found a positive relationship between cannabis use and increased crash
risk, and came to the conclusion that cannabis use increased crash risk.
They noted that the pooled risk was 1.92, (which equates to a blood alcohol
concentration of between 0.06 to 0.07 percent). This study acknowledged
that it did not examine dose-related effects of cannabis use on crash
risk, so there is still really no way to tell how much the crash risk
varies with THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) concentration, time since ingestion,
or experience with cannabis.
All this study tells us is that, on average, the crash risk of cannabis
users is less than people that would be legally impaired by alcohol (0.08).
The average blood alcohol concentration of arrested drinking drivers is
0.16g percent in California, with a corresponding crash risk of 29.48.
Texting causes a crash risk of over 23 times, so the average marijuana
user is considerably less impaired than the average drinking driver or
texting driver. It is important to keep a study like this in perspective,
in terms of just how much risk we are talking about when dealing with
driving under the influence of marijuana.
Call Orange County DUI Lawyer Virginia Landry!
If you have recently been arrested for driving under the influence of a
drug such as marijuana, please do not hesitate to call an Orange County
DUI of drugs attorney from our firm. Orange County specifically is cracking
down on driving while impaired, particularly crimes that involve driving
under the influence of narcotics such as marijuana, even for personal
or medical use.
To learn more, please
contact our firm for a consultation today.