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

This is one big problem that a lot of 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 record rate for Marijuana-related offenses.

The bottom line is, any substance that you ingest that can affect your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle can cause you to get a driving 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 are providing 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 ingest alcohol, if you ingest enough of it that it causes you to not be able to safely operate a motor vehicle, 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 in order to get a DUI. 

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

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

So, if you can't successfully complete their field sobriety tests, then 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 really 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

In fact, since Marijuana has been legalized, I've actually 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 and they can better test the levels of Marijuana in somebody's system for purposes of being able to prove whether or not they're driving under the influence and can't safely operate a motor vehicle.

A lot of times now they're using Drug Recognition Experts to be able 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 be able to show and prove that the person couldn't safely operate a motor vehicle. 

Obviously, if you get in an accident and you're high on Marijuana, that is one factor that's going to be used against you to prove you couldn't safely operate a motor vehicle because you were involved in an accident and the police are going to be able to arrest you.

They're going to give the case to the prosecutor.  The prosecutor is going try to see the THC content in your blood to try 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 really caught up in this because they're not usually suspending licenses administratively related to just strictly Marijuana. 

At this point, they seem to just 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 so that we can do everything we can to either 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, how you were walking, talking, acting, how you performed on the field sobriety test and a host of other factors. 

Obviously, 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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