Arrested for DUI of Marijuana?

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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.

How Do Officers Determine Marijuana Impairment?

Law enforcement officers can begin to suspect that a driver is under the influence of marijuana when the vehicle smells of pot, or when the officer sees drug paraphernalia in the suspect’s car. Or, from observing the driver’s appearance or the way the suspect was driving. Any of these can be clues that indicate impairment.

Sometimes, the officer will call in the help of a drug recognition expert (DRE), who will use their training and expertise to assess the driver’s condition. DREs are trained to identify signs of drug impairment, and a DRE’s observations can be submitted as evidence in drug-related DUI cases. If a suspect is arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of marijuana, he or she will be asked to submit to a blood test to determine the presence of THC in their body.

At issue is the fact that THC can remain in a person’s blood for two days after the individual has smoked or consumed marijuana, and it can stay in the urine even longer. Therefore, just because THC is in someone’s blood, it doesn’t mean the person was under the influence of the drug when they were driving.

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.

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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