MARIJUANA & DRUG DUI
If you have been arrested for a DUI for being under the influence of marijuana (weed) or any other drug, you will most likely be charged with a violation of Vehicle Code 23152(e) which states:
(e) It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any drug to drive a vehicle.
For example, if you are convicted of a first-time marijuana DUI in Los Angeles County, you will face following punishment:
- 3-5 years of summary/informal probation,
- $390-$1000 fine plus penalties and assessments (for example: a fine of $390 plus penalties and assessments will add up to approximately $2,000) (*This fine may be converted to community labor/service or county jail*)
- Up to six months in county jail,
- 6-10 month driver license suspension.
Aggravating circumstances such as an accident, excessive speed, refusal, etc. will increase the likelihood of increased punishment of the requirements listed above, such as jail time, community service/labor and NA (Narcotics Anonymous) meetings.
However, a DUI attorney experienced in marijuana and drug DUI cases in Los Angeles County courthouses can fight your case to minimize your punishment and ensure that you are not punished for something you didn’t do. Kevin Fard, Attorney at Law, not only has extensive experience fighting marijuana DUIs, but as also completed programs focusing on the law and science of marijuana DUI cases.
After you are arrested under the suspicion of a marijuana DUI, you will most likely have to take a blood test. The blood test results will indicate the level of THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) in your blood. THC is the psychoactive metabolite of marijuana, i.e. what gets you “high,” “stoned,” “baked.”
The science is not out yet and there is no reliable method that correlates the amount marijuana consumption and/or THC level to impaired driving. Even NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Association) admits that determining the correlation between THC level and impaired driving is “difficult,” i.e. not reliable. The variability between the affect and concentration of THC level in chronic users versus first-time/naive users adds to this uncertainty.
Because of the scientific uncertainty with marijuana impairment, no per se limit for marijuana exists in California and your prosecutor cannot simply fall back on a number to convict you. (Expect this to change when marijuana becomes legalized in California.) For example, if you get arrested for an alcohol DUI, you are subject to the per se law which presumes that you are under the influence if you were driving and your BAC was .08 or greater.
Without a per se limit, the only way to be convicted of a marijuana DUI is if the prosecutor proves, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you:
1) Drove a vehicle,
2) Under the influence of marijuana.
To prove that you were under the influence of marijuana, they must show that:
As a result of consuming marijuana, your mental or physical abilities were so impaired that you were no longer able to drive a vehicle with the caution of a sober person, using ordinary care, under similar circumstances. (See California Criminal Jury Instruction section 2110.)
The lack of scientific reliability associated with marijuana DUI allegations makes a guilty verdict hard to obtain and gives your attorney significant leverage in your case.
If you arrested on suspicion of a DUI for being under the influence of any other drug including unlawful drugs such as cocaine and legal prescription medications such as Ambien, you are subject to the same VC 23152(e) analysis discussed in the above marijuana DUI analysis.