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Can You Get a DUI for Driving High on Marijuana in California?

This is one big problem that many people are running into is that they think that just because Marijuana is legal now, they can smoke Marijuana all they want and drive around. Meanwhile, they're getting picked up and arrested at a record rate for Marijuana-related offenses.

The bottom line is that any substance you ingest that can affect your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle can cause you to drive under the influence in Los Angeles county.

Driving under the influence of drugs is covered under California Vehicle Code 23152f.

To give readers a better understanding, our Los Angeles DUI attorneys provide an overview below.

Unable to Safely Operate a Motor Vehicle

So, even though it may be legal to ingest Marijuana, just like it's legal to drink alcohol if you eat enough of it that it causes you not to be able to operate a motor vehicle safely, then you can be charged with a DUI.

You don't have to be drunk, and you don't have to be out of control high on Marijuana to get a DUI. 

You have to have enough of it in your system so that you can't operate the vehicle safely for purposes of being able to protect the public.

That is usually determined by the police having you do field sobriety tests which are supposed to be designed to see if you can safely operate a motor vehicle. 

So, suppose you can't complete their field sobriety tests. In that case, you can bet they're going to arrest you and try to get the prosecutors to charge you with driving under the influence of Marijuana.

Testing Levels of Marijuana in Your System

So, the fact that Marijuana is now legal, I don't think, has any impact whatsoever on whether or not you're going to be charged with a Marijuana-related DUI.

Marijuana DUI in California

Since Marijuana has been legalized, I've seen situations where more cases are being prosecuted against criminal defendants than in the past because this has lulled people into a false sense of security related to smoking Marijuana.

Also, the authorities have gotten more sophisticated now. They can better test the levels of Marijuana in somebody's system to prove whether or not they're driving under the influence and can't safely operate a motor vehicle.

They're often using Drug Recognition Experts to test the person — look at their eyes; see how they're walking; see how they're talking; see how they were driving beforehand.

The police are noting that in their police report to show and prove that the person couldn't safely operate a motor vehicle. 

Suppose you get in an accident and you're high on Marijuana. In that case, that is one factor that will be used against you to prove you couldn't safely operate a motor vehicle because you were involved in an accident. The police will be able to arrest you.

They're going to give the case to the prosecutor.  The prosecutor will try to see the THC content in your blood to prove that you were too high to drive, and therefore, you should be convicted of a DUI.

DMV and Suspension of Driver's License

The DMV seemingly has not caught up in this because they're not usually suspending licenses administratively related to just strictly Marijuana. 

At this point, they seem just to be limited to alcohol

If your blood alcohol is a .08 or greater, and they can prove it at an Administrative Hearing, then they're going to suspend your license

If, on the other hand, there's no alcohol in your system, just because you're arrested for Marijuana and driving a vehicle doesn't mean that they're going to end up suspending your driver's license by way of their Administrative Hearing.

So, if you're busted for a Marijuana DUI, you need help, you're confused, you don't understand what happened, pick up the phone. 

Make a call.  Let's sit down and talk about it and get a strategy together to do everything we can to fight the case or do damage control and mitigate the Marijuana DUI down to something less than a full-fledged DUI.

Sometimes we can do that depending on the circumstances — your driving, walking, talking, acting, how you performed on the field sobriety test, and a host of other factors. 

You want to have your own DUI attorney looking at everything so you get the best possible result.

Hedding Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm located in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. We are also located at 633 West Fifth Street Los Angeles, CA 90071. Contact us for a free case evaluation at (213) 542-0963.

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Hedding Law Firm is committed to answering your questions about DUI law issues in California and throughout the United States.

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