California is one of the few states in the country that allows people to legally use marijuana. However, the ability to use marijuana for medical purposes has caused some unintended consequences, especially when it comes to DUI.
Laws for DUI marijuana in California have yet to catch up to medical marijuana laws. There is currently no legal limit for marijuana like there is for alcohol, and this could make a huge difference in your case if you are accused of DUI marijuana.
No Legal Limit for Marijuana in California
Driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal. So, how exactly can police officers determine that you are “under the influence of marijuana” when there is no defined legal limit?
Since there is no legal limit for how much THC can be in your bloodstream while driving in California, prosecutors try to convict you of DUI marijuana based on witness testimony and police observations, along with potential blood or urine test results that aren’t always accurate.
As a result, it is much harder to convict you of DUI marijuana than it is to convict you of DUI alcohol.
Defending DUI Marijuana Charges in California
If you’re accused of DUI marijuana, the fact that there is no defined legal limit for marijuana use in California could have a major impact on your case.
In most DUI cases, definitive evidence – such as Breathalyzer test results – can be presented by prosecutors in an effort to convict you. However, a skilled DUI lawyer will be able to challenge scientific evidence in a DUI marijuana case.
THC could stay in your bloodstream for days and in your urine for weeks, so blood and urine tests may not be an accurate way to show impairment at the time of driving. Your lawyer may be able to show that these tests are not conclusive evidence that you were under the influence, or show that these tests were not administered properly.
Testing for marijuana is inaccurate, so being convicted of DUI marijuana will likely come down to the arresting officer’s observations. Police may say you showed signs of impairment while driving and during sobriety tests, but these observations are subjective.
The Future for DUI Marijuana Laws
With all this confusion surrounding DUI marijuana laws, it makes sense that California and other states are making strides to better define what it means to be “under the influence” of marijuana.
Earlier this year, a proposed law in California that would have allowed officers to administer an oral swab test to drivers who were suspected to be under the influence of marijuana or other drugs failed to pass the Senate.1
Colorado, Montana, and Washington previously set a legal limit for THC at 5 nanograms per millimeter of blood. A bill is being proposed in California to have the same legal limit. Researchers say that 5 nanograms can significantly impair some drivers, but it might not be the same for frequent marijuana users, which are likely the drivers who have a license for medical marijuana.
With the definition of “under the influence” of marijuana undefined legally in California, your DUI lawyer may have a valid defense to fight the allegations you are facing.
Contact a DUI Attorney at Wallin & Klarich
If you or a loved one have been charged with DUI marijuana, it is important that you speak to an experienced DUI defense attorney right away. At Wallin & Klarich, our DUI lawyers have over 35 years of experience successfully defending our clients facing DUI drug charges. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Torrance, you can find a dedicated Wallin & Klarich attorney near you no matter where you are located.
Call us at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.
1. http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article80424702.html ↩