Driving Under The Influence Of Marijuana In California
While the recreational use of marijuana is still illegal in California, it may not be all that long until that changes. It seems like every election cycle there is a bill that would make marijuana legal, and it is probably just a matter of time until one of those bills passes and becomes the law of California. However, even if marijuana is legal, driving under the influence of marijuana will still be illegal.
DUI and Marijuana
It is currently illegal to operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or marijuana. In most alcohol driving under the influence (DUI) cases, the prosecution uses a fairly straightforward test to determine if the driver was legally intoxicated: if the driver’s blood- or breath-alcohol content (BAC) was .08 or greater, they were intoxicated. However, unlike alcohol, it is not always easy to determine when someone last smoked or consumed marijuana. For this reason, the marijuana DUI law use is more subjective than the alcohol DUI law.
In order to be convicted of a DUI offense in California for driving under the influence of marijuana, it must be proven that the driver did not have the “ability to drive with the caution characteristic of a sober person of ordinary prudence under the same or similar circumstances.”
If an Officer Suspects a Driver is High
If a police officer stops a driver and believes that the driver may be under the influence of marijuana, that officer can call in a Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE) who will evaluate the driver and look for certain indications that the driver may be under the influence of marijuana. A few of the signs that the DRE will look for are:
- Dialated pupils;
- Elevated pulse rate;
- Increased blood pressure;
- The smell of burnt marijuana;
- Dry mouth; and
- Short-term memory impairment.
After evaluating the driver, the DRE will make a conclusion as to whether that driver was under the influence of marijuana. If the DRE determines that the driver was under the influence then that driver will be arrested and the DRE will likely testify at the driver’s trial to the signs of intoxication he or she noticed at the scene.
Have You Been Arrested for a Marijuana Offense in Sonoma County?
If you have recently been arrested for a marijuana-related offense in California, you need to secure the representation of an experienced Santa Rosa criminal defense attorney immediately. Depending on the facts of your case, an experienced attorney may make the difference between a slap on the wrist–such as a fine or probation–and serious jail time. At the Law Office of Amy Chapman, we take marijuana defense seriously and have been representing those charged with all kinds of criminal offenses for over 13 years. We understand all that comes along with being charged with a crime and work with you to reach a result that you can be happy with. Click here, or call (707) 636-3207 today to schedule a time to meet with an attorney and discuss the facts of your case.