California uses a legal limit to determine how much alcohol a driver can consume before facing charges for driving under the influence (DUI). However, drivers can also be charged with driving under the influence of drugs (DUID). For a DUID charge, what’s the legal limit for driving while high?
The Simmrin Law Group can help you go over legal limits for drug use behind the wheel in California. Get help focusing on DUID charges with our team of legal professionals. Call (310) 896-2723 for legal help after an arrest for driving while high.
California Does Not Use a Set Legal Limit for DUIDs
The state of California does not have a legal limit for driving while high. In 2018, when California began legalized marijuana use, the state decided not to set a limit on THC for drivers. Without a legal limit, many drivers are unsure how DUID arrests are made.
Generally, drivers may be arrested for driving while high if they operate a vehicle after:
- Consuming marijuana in sufficient quantity that
- They are physically or mentally impaired to the degree that
- They cannot operate a vehicle with reasonable care
Police officers are often left to decide if a driver is impaired or not when making an arrest.
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Assessments Used in DUID Cases in California
As we mentioned, there is not a set level for how much marijuana a driver can use before operating a vehicle. This does not mean that the state does not perform testing on drivers suspected of committing a DUID.
In fact, a driver may be required to complete a blood test after a DUID arrest. This blood test can be used to detect the presence of marijuana in a driver’s system. DUID blood tests also look for other types of drugs, including illicit chemical substances and some prescription medications.
A driver suspected of driving while high may also be asked to perform a field sobriety test (FST). FSTs are used to assess a driver’s reflexes and physical abilities. Note that drivers may be able to refuse an FST UNLESS they are:
- On DUI probation
- Under 21
Post-arrest blood tests for a DUID must be taken. Legally, drivers agree to take a post-arrest DUI test each time they operate a vehicle. Refusal to take a legally ordered assessment can lead to the suspension of a driver’s license and other penalties.
Find out more about DUID tests with a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles. Call (310) 896-2723 to get answers about any charges you may be facing.
The Penalties for Driving While High in California
A conviction for driving while high in California can result in a number of serious penalties. Driving while high is often prosecuted as a misdemeanor in California, though drivers can face felony charges if they:
- Have three previous misdemeanor DUI convictions
- Have one previous felony DUI convictions
- Hurt or killed someone in a DUI accident
A basic misdemeanor charge for a DUID can result in:
- Thousands of dollars in fines
- Up to six months in jail
- Up to nine months of DUI school
The results of a DUID conviction increase each time a driver is convicted of driving while high. All DUI charges in California are priorable and remain on a driver’s record for 10 years. During this 10-year period, each additional DUID conviction can be punished more harshly by the court system.
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Building a Defense to Driving While High Charges
It can be difficult to construct a defense to DUID charges in California on your own. Because the state does not use a legal limit for driving while high, you cannot show you were not impaired by demonstrating that you were below the legal limit.
A DUI lawyer in Los Angeles can focus on other aspects of your case to get your charges reduced or even dismissed. A legal professional may work to show that you were stopped without reasonable cause by a law enforcement officer, for example.
Your lawyer can also take steps to show that you were not impaired while operating a vehicle. Many DUI tests cannot show when you used a drug, which could allow your lawyer to demonstrate that you were not affected by a chemical substance when driving.
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Speak to a Lawyer About the Legal Limit for Driving While High
California has no legal limit for driving while high. Instead, any driver who operates a vehicle while impaired by a chemical substance can face DUID charges. Get help facing these charges head-on by working with the Simmrin Law Group. Learn more about your legal options today with a FREE consultation.
You can contact our DUI lawyers in Los Angeles by calling (310) 896-2723 or filling out our online contact form.