Marijuana DUI: What Californians Need to Know

Californians who might be marijuana users should certainly keep themselves informed of marijuana laws throughout the state.

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Our marijuana lawyers in Los Angeles want to help keep the public informed of what the law is in California and the ways in which police officers are enforcing it.

Sometimes marijuana regulation can be a moving target, particularly in the current climate where many states are altering their statutes regarding marijuana laws.

Some 20 jurisdictions have legalized marijuana to some degree, but the number is sure to grow as the movement picks up steam heading into 2014.

A DUI for marijuana is defined as driving under the influence of drugs. In this case we are talking about marijuana but it can include other drugs as well.

Since blood tests are not capable of revealing when marijuana was ingested and whether it is still affecting an individual while behind the wheel, other methods must be used to prove the level of impairment necessary for law enforcement officers and government attorneys to get a conviction.

Under California Law an individual must lack the “ability to drive with the caution characteristic of a sober person of ordinary prudence under the same or similar circumstances.”

But what does this really mean? Of course every situation is different and you should seek legal advice if you’re faced with marijuana charges but generally California law requires its drivers to drive like someone ordinarily would if they were not under the influence of marijuana.

Unlike alcohol, a blood test is not an effective method. For this reason, California law enforcement officers are trained to look for other signs of impairment. Officers trained in identifying impaired drivers are known as Drug Recognition Evaluators (DRE). A DRE-certified officer is trained to observe for signs that a driver is under the influence of marijuana or other drugs.

Specifically for marijuana, such observations might include: short term memory impairment, dry mouth, relaxed demeanor, tremors, odor of marijuana, elevate blood pressure, increased pulse rate, and dilated pupils.

If you are pulled over and you think the officer suspects you of driving under the influence of marijuana then you should do your best to remain calm and make no statements or admissions to the law enforcement officer.

Wait patiently to be released from jail and provided a court date to start your fight against any potential charges.

Marijuana users should be aware that it is illegal to drive while under the influence even in places such as Washington and Colorado that have legalized recreational marijuana use.

Anyone arrested for marijuana DUI has the option of challenging the government’s case in court. An experienced attorney can help educate you on your options, depending on the specific facts and evidence present in your case.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.

More Blog Entries:

Marijuana DUI an Increasing Threat Amid Legalization Efforts, January 1, 2014, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog
Live Oak ban on marijuana upheld by Appeals Court, December 31, 2013, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog