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Arrested for DUI of Marijuana? Get a Board Certified Expert in DUI Defense on Your Side

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 at (949) 537-2202 today for a free and confidential consultation.

Penalties for Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana

  • 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

  • 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 BAC between 0.06 to 0.07%). 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 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 BAC of arrested drinking drivers is 0.16%, 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.

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