Drivers in California who operate a vehicle after using marijuana can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI). Charges for a marijuana DUI often require police officers to demonstrate the presence of marijuana in a driver’s bloodstream. You may wonder how the police test for a marijuana DUI.
Find out more about the tests used to detect marijuana usage with this article. Consider other symptoms of marijuana usage and review your legal options if you are facing marijuana DUI charges. Call (310) 997-4688 to speak with the professionals at the Simmrin Law Group today.
Chemical Tests for Marijuana in California
Law enforcement officers who suspect a driver is committing a marijuana DUI may request that the driver complete a:
- Blood test
- Saliva test
- Urine test
The above tests can be used to determine if a driver used marijuana. However, they all have serious drawbacks. Marijuana does not dissipate from a person’s system as quickly as alcohol. Marijuana tests often cannot tell:
- How long ago a driver used marijuana
- How much marijuana a driver used
A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles may be able to dispute the results of a marijuana test after you are arrested. Let’s consider each of the above tests in more detail now.
Blood and Saliva Tests for DUI Usage in California
Blood and saliva tests are designed to detect THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) in a driver’s system. THC is a psychoactive substance found in marijuana. You should be aware that California does not use a maximum level for acceptable THC. Any amount of THC in a driver’s system could result in DUI charges.
Blood tests are used more commonly than any other chemical test in marijuana DUI cases. Saliva tests, on the other hand, are often used as a part of preliminary screening. These tests can detect recent usage of marijuana, but not how much marijuana was used.
Additionally, there may be a discussion of whether or not a saliva test will be admissible in court if you are charged with driving under the influence of drugs (DUID). Call (310) 997-4688 to find out more about blood and saliva tests for a marijuana DUI.
Urine Tests for Marijuana Usage in California
Urine tests in California are not used as frequently as blood and saliva tests. However, a police officer may request you complete these assessments in some situations. Urine tests also do not detect THC. A urine test will look for inactive metabolites associated with marijuana usage.
However, you should be aware that these metabolites only indicate that someone used marijuana. They cannot show that a driver was impaired. They also remain in a person’s system for a long time after a driver uses marijuana. The metabolites may show up on a urine test for up to a month after someone uses marijuana.
Officers Look for Physical Evidence of Marijuana Usage
In addition to conducting chemical tests, a law enforcement officer may look at a driver’s behavior and physical state when making a marijuana DUI arrest. Police officers throughout California are trained to look for:
- Rapid breathing or a fast heart rate
- Dilated pupils or red eyes
- The smell of marijuana
Additionally, drivers may be asked to complete a field sobriety test (FST) if an officer suspects they are committing a DUID. Note that you may legally refuse to complete an FST if you are:
- Not legally arrested
- Over the age of 21
- Not on DUI probation
Failure on an FST can be taken as evidence that a driver is impaired. Finally, police officers may use the presence of drug paraphernalia associated with marijuana usage as proof that a driver is operating a vehicle while under the influence.
Get Help Handling Tests for Marijuana DUIs in California
You can get legal assistance building a defense for marijuana DUI charges even if you failed a drug test. A DUI lawyer in Los Angeles may be able to dispute the results of these tests by showing that:
- You did not actually use marijuana
- You used marijuana, but long before you operated your vehicle
- You were not impaired at the time that you were arrested
Find out more about how you can handle a DUID charge in California by reaching out to the Simmrin Law Group now.
Speak to a Lawyer if the Police Tested You for a Marijuana DUI
The police can use saliva, blood, and urine tests for a marijuana DUI. Drivers may also be subjected to FSTs during a DUI traffic stop. The team at the Simmrin Law Group can help you after you receive the results of these tests. Start preparing your defense now by calling us at (310) 997-4688 or completing our online contact form.
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