Driving Under the Infuence (DUI) When Impaired
LAW: Even though possession of Marijuana is legalized, it remains unlawful to drive while under the influence of marijuana or any drug if impaired to the degree that one is unable to operate a motor vehicle safely.
PENALTY: For first time offenses, the maximum penalty amounts to six months in jail, a fine of $390-$1,000, a restricted license and a three years probation. If the person convicted is under 21 years old, he/she will be subject to lose their license for 1 year, and be subject to a DUI program if they have .01 alcohol content, even if not convicted. They may also be subject to an interlock ignition device. Medical marijuana patients are not exempt from statues that prohibit driving while impaired.
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Notes from Bruce:
Being under the influence is not necessarily impairment
Notes from Bruce:
The police officer’s opinion regarding how the defendant performed on the fled sobriety test is the #1 method, other than how the vehicle was driven, which is relied upon by the prosecution to establish impairment.
DUI SUSPECTS CAN REFUSE TO TAKE FIELD SOBRIETY TESTS AND TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS SUCH AS WHEN THEY LAST USED MARIJUANA: . If you are arrested, you are required to take a Breathalyzer and/or blood or urine test if requested. Otherwise, REFUSAL TO TAKE THOSE CHEMICAL TESTS WILL RESULT IN THE LOSS OF YOUR DRIVER’S LICENSE FOR A YEAR and may be used as an argument of consciousness of guilt.
DUI CASES INVOLVING THE USE OF MARIJUANA ARE OFTEN DIFFICULT FOR THE PROSECUTION TO PROVE IMPAIRMENT: Unlike the .08% blood alcohol level, which makes a defendant guilty in drunk driving cases, there is no legal standard amount of THC that preemptively establishes impairment in California. Other factors are used by the prosecution to try to get a conviction. These factors include driving violations, such as weaving and feld sobriety tests such as walking a line, touching a nose, speech, or admissions of effects. Note that claiming to be tired only adds to the possibility of impairment. Police are not required to give Miranda Rights unless you’re actually arrested, as opposed to being merely detained.
ALCOHOL AND WEED DON’T MIX! Studies show that alcohol with marijuana radically increases chances of impairment. These types of cases are less defensible. DON’T DO IT!
CHOOSING A BREATH, BLOOD, OR URINE TEST: Experts advise if option is provided to choose breath, blood or urine, to choose a breath test because it does not register THC. However, if you have not used marijuana for at least 3 days and an officer requests that you submit to a blood or urine test, choose the blood test; experts indicate that THC is usually detectable in the blood for up to two days. Otherwise, choose a urine test; even though a urine test will most likely show a positive marijuana metabolite result (up to 35 days or more), its presence alone is even less relevant than blood analysis to establish impairment, which is required to prove DUI.
Note From Bruce: Recently the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court determined the psychoactive effects of cannabis vary too greatly from person to person for an offer to make a confident decision about the motor vehicle operator’s level of inebriation.
CALIFORNIA LAW LICENSE SUSPENSION: Adults over 21 convicted of a drug DUI including only marijuana, will lose their license for 6 months, unless they participate in a drug education program, which will limit suspension to 30 days, a 5 months restriction, to only drive to and from work and to the designated DUI programs, and they may now be required to install a car ignition interlock device per DMV instructions.
Adults may also lose their license when convicted of marijuana/ cannabis ofenses for up to three years when a motor vehicle is used [CA Vehicle Code §13202]. The judge may suspend or order the DMV to revoke a driver’s license for possession for sale, transportation, or sale to a minor. When the defendant shows a “critical need to drive,” he/she can attempt to obtain a restricted license [ Vehicle Code §13202.5].