California legalized some aspects of marijuana usage and possession throughout the state. However, there are still some restrictions on the amount of marijuana an individual can legally possess and the methods available to legally transport marijuana.
For example, drivers are not permitted to carry open carriers of marijuana in their vehicles. This act can be prosecuted under California Vehicle Code Section 23222(b): Possessing Marijuana While Driving. You can review the facts about VC 23222(b) with the Simmrin Law Group today.
California’s Definition of Possessing Marijuana While Driving
According to Vehicle Code Section 23222(b), individuals in California can be charged with possessing marijuana while driving if they:
- Drive a Motor Vehicle on Lands or a Highway
- With a Container Holding Any Cannabis Product
- If the Container is Open or Has a Broken Seal OR
- If They Have Cannabis Flowers Outside of a Container
Possessing marijuana while driving is considered an infraction in California’s court system.
Exceptions to Possessing Marijuana While Driving Charges
You should be aware that there are two major exceptions to possessing marijuana while driving charges. These exceptions apply if:
The Cannabis Product or Cannabis Flower Was in the Trunk
Drivers can transport receptacles of marijuana that have been opened or partially used as long as they carry them in the trunk of their motor vehicle. This also applies to loose cannabis flowers.
The Driver is a Qualified Person or Patient
Some individuals in California may transport previously opened receptacles containing marijuana products. However, they must have an identification card or a recommendation from their physician. Additionally, the cannabis product must be in a receptacle that was closed or resealed, not loose in the vehicle.
The Penalties for Possessing Marijuana While Driving Conviction
As we mentioned earlier, possessing marijuana while driving is considered an infraction in California. Drivers who are convicted under VC 23222(b) can face fines of up to $100. However, harsher penalties may apply if an individual is found with larger amounts of marijuana. It is generally legal for individuals in California to possess up to:
- One Ounce of Marijuana.
- Eight Grams of Concentrated Cannabis.
Drivers could be charged with possession of marijuana if they are found with amounts of marijuana that exceed this legal limit. Possession of marijuana charges can be used even if the marijuana is in closed, sealed receptacles.
Harsher Charges for Marijuana Usage While Driving
Drivers in California may be able to transport marijuana legally in some circumstances, but marijuana usage while driving is considered a criminal act. This is because marijuana can make it more difficult for drivers to operate their vehicles safely.
California uses California Vehicle Code Section 23152(f): Driving Under the Influence of Drugs to prosecute individuals who operate a vehicle after consuming marijuana or other chemical substances that can impact their ability to safely drive. A VC 23152(f) conviction can result in fines and jail time of up to four years.
Legal Defenses for Possessing Marijuana While Driving Charges
A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can help you if you are accused of possessing marijuana while driving. You can get help reviewing your legal options by contacting a legal professional as soon as you are arrested. Based on your unique legal situation, your lawyer could show that:
You Were Authorized to Transport Marijuana
Earlier, we mentioned that some people were authorized to transport previously opened containers of marijuana, as long as the container had been closed or resealed. If you have permission to possess marijuana while driving in this manner, you could avoid VC 23222(b) charges.
You Were Transporting Marijuana in Your Trunk
VC 23222(b) charges should not apply if you were carrying an opened container of marijuana or cannabis flowers in the trunk of your vehicle. California’s legal code makes an exception for drivers who transport marijuana in this way.
You Were Stopped by a Police Officer Without Just Cause
Police officers are not legally allowed to just stop and search all drivers. A police officer must have reasonable cause to inspect your vehicle. If you were stopped and searched without reason, the charges you are facing for possessing marijuana while driving could be dismissed.
Contact a Lawyer for Help with Possessing Marijuana While Driving Charges
You can begin building a defense for California Vehicle Code Section 23222(b): Possessing Marijuana While Driving charges by contacting the Simmrin Law Group today. Our criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles can go over all of your legal options now with a FREE case evaluation.
You can reach us by completing our online contact form or calling 310-896-2723.