California has largely decriminalized marijuana usage throughout the state. However, individuals may still face criminal charges if they use marijuana and then get behind the wheel. Drivers impaired by marijuana can be charged with a marijuana DUI in California.
You can get familiar with California’s driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) charges with this article. The Simmrin Law Group can help you go over the penalties for a marijuana DUI conviction and your legal options for handling these charges. Call (310) 896-2723 to find out more.
Defining a Marijuana DUI in California
Drivers who use marijuana before operating a vehicle can be charged under Vehicle Code Section 23152(f) – Driving Under the Influence of Drugs. According to VC 23152(f), drivers commit a criminal act if they operate a vehicle while under the influence of a drug that has impaired their mental or physical abilities.
Note that California does not have a set limit on how much marijuana a driver can use before they will be considered impaired. This judgment will be left up to law enforcement officers and court officials on a case-by-case basis.
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Factors Leading to a Marijuana DUI Arrest
California does not base marijuana DUI charges on the amount of marijuana a driver used before getting behind the wheel. Instead, drivers may be charged if they operate their vehicle in a way that a reasonable, sober person would not.
Accordingly, law enforcement officers may charge a driver with a DUID if the driver:
- Displayed an erratic driving pattern
- Admitted to using marijuana before driving
- Performed poorly on a field sobriety test (FST)
- Had drug paraphernalia on their person or in their vehicle
- Had dilated pupils, red eyes, or a fast heartbeat
Additionally, drivers who smell strongly of marijuana may be charged with a DUID in the state of California. Note that a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can often dispute the evidence used in marijuana DUI cases. You can assess your legal options now by calling (310) 896-2723.
Tests for Marijuana Usage in California
We mentioned that California does not have a set limit for the amount of marijuana a driver can take before facing charges for a DUID. The state can still perform tests to determine if a driver was using marijuana before driving.
Blood tests are often used if police officers suspect that a driver is operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs. Note that drivers are required to comply with any drug tests after they are legally arrested. Drivers also have to complete tests if they are:
- Under 21
- On DUI probation
Refusal to complete a legally ordered test is considered a criminal act in California. Drivers can have their license suspended automatically for one year for a refusal to take a lawful test.
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Results of a Marijuana DUI Conviction in California
Marijuana DUIs can be prosecuted as misdemeanors or felonies in the state of California. Drivers charged with a misdemeanor may face:
- Fines of up to $2,000
- Jail time of up to six months
- Probation of up to five years
- Driver’s license suspension of up to six months
Felony DUID charges are handled more seriously by the court system. A driver with a felony conviction for a marijuana DUI can be sent to prison, instead of jail. They can also face higher fines and a lengthier license suspension.
Note that all DUI charges are priorable in the state of California. Each time a driver is convicted of a DUI, the penalties for a conviction increase. This includes marijuana DUI charges.
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Legal Options to Handle Marijuana DUIs in California
A DUI lawyer in Los Angeles can help if you are accused of a marijuana DUI. Depending upon your situation, a legal professional could argue that:
- You did not use marijuana before driving
- You used marijuana but you were not impaired
- You were not driving at the time of your arrest
- You were stopped unlawfully by a law enforcement officer
Focus on constructing a strong defense quickly after your arrest. Getting help right away improves your odds of successfully resolving a DUID charge in the state of California.
A DUI Lawyer Can Help with Marijuana DUI Charges
You can get professional help with a marijuana DUI charge in California by contacting the Simmrin Law Group. Speak to our DUI lawyers in Los Angeles right now to review all of your legal options. Our team can consider your unique situation right away with a FREE consultation.
Fill out our online contact form or call (310) 896-2723 to focus on getting your charges reduced or dismissed.