Ignition interlock devices (IIDs) are used to measure a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC). These devices are often installed in a vehicle after a driver is convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol in California.
California also prosecutes drivers for operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs like marijuana. This leads some drivers to wonder if an IID breathalyzer can detect marijuana. The professionals at the Simmrin Law Group can help you review exactly what substances are detectable with an IID, just call (310) 997-4688.
Detection of Drugs by an IID Breathalyzer
IIDs around the country are specifically designed to assess a driver’s BAC. They are not programmed to detect marijuana or other drugs in an individual’s breath. This means that IID breathalyzers cannot detect marijuana if you blow into them.
However, exhaling or blowing smoke into an IID can cause the device to malfunction. Drivers may end up needing to take their IID in for service if they misuse an IID in this manner, so it is not recommended. Additionally, this may be considered “damaging” the device. Drivers can face criminal charges if they damage a court-ordered IID breathalyzer.
In fact, drivers can damage their IID just by blowing into it after smoking marijuana. Particulates left by marijuana usage may:
- Enter an IID breathalyzer and
- Damage the inner workings of the device
- Or clog the device, preventing it from functioning
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Tests Used to Detect Marijuana in California
As we mentioned, in-car IID breathalyzers cannot detect marijuana. This does not mean that marijuana is completely undetectable. Many law enforcement officers have access to a roadside test kit that they can use to determine if you are driving under the influence of drugs, including marijuana.
Generally, this test requires police officers to:
- Take a sample of a driver’s saliva
- Send the sample to a lab to be tested
- Use the results to charge a driver with driving under the influence of drugs (DUID)
Marijuana breathalyzers are also available in some situations. These devices can provide immediate information about marijuana usage to law enforcement officers.
Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana Is Against the Law
Many drivers are aware that marijuana has been partially legalized in the state of California. Individuals in the state are permitted to buy, use, and even grow small amounts of marijuana. However, California does not permit people to sell marijuana or operate a vehicle while under the influence.
As with alcohol, marijuana usage can impair drivers. A conviction for a DUID in California can lead to fines and even time in jail. Additionally, DUID charges are priorable, as are all DUI charges in the state of California.
This means that drivers face increased penalties each time they are convicted of a DUI offense. Drivers already convicted of a DUI who are convicted of a DUID can face higher fines, additional jail time, and other penalties.
Therefore, it is very important that drivers do not operate a vehicle after using marijuana, even if it will not be detected by an IID. If you are charged with a DUID, contact a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles by calling (310) 997-4688.
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DUID Charges and the Use of Medical Marijuana
California does not excuse drivers from DUID charges if they have a legitimate prescription for marijuana usage. Drivers are not permitted to use any chemical substance that impairs their driving before they get behind the wheel, including prescription medications.
Note that marijuana is not alone in this situation. Other medications, such as painkillers or sleep aids, should also not be consumed before operating a vehicle in California. Even some over-the-counter medications can lead to DUID charges.
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Speak with a Professional About DUID Charges in California
As we mentioned, DUID charges can have serious repercussions for drivers in California. If you are convicted of a DUID, you could face:
- Jail time
- A driver’s license suspension
- Enrollment in a drug treatment program
Fortunately, you do not have to try to take on these charges on your own. You can get professional help quickly by reaching out to a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles. The professionals at the Simmrin Law Group understand what it takes to help drivers in your position.
We can begin investigating the charges you are facing immediately. Our DUI lawyers in Los Angeles are ready to handle both alcohol and drug-related DUI charges.
Learn More About IID Breathalyzers and Marijuana
Ignition interlock device breathalyzers cannot detect marijuana. However, police officers have other tests that can help them determine if a driver is committing a DUID. If you are facing DUID charges for marijuana usage, you can contact the Simmrin Law Group now by completing our online contact form or calling (310) 997-4688.
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