Driving High Equals DUI

With the legalization of marijuana for recreational usage still a fairly recent development in California, it’s a good idea for residents and visitors to the state to familiarize themselves with the laws that still apply to its use. One of the most important things to be aware of is that regardless of the decriminalization of using marijuana recreationally, driving while under the influence of the drug is still a serious crime with serious consequences. Much like alcohol or prescribed drugs, which are also legal when used within the parameters of the law, it’s the abuse of these substances that constitutes their illegality, and driving while high laws in California are both very straightforward and very strict.

A DUI is Still a DUI

As stated in California Vehicle Code 23152(f) VC, “It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any drug including marijuana to drive a vehicle.”  Not only does this mean that you can and will be charged with a DUI if you are stopped by law enforcement and they suspect you to be under the influence of marijuana, it also means that you will be facing penalties that are comparable to the penalties you would expect if you were charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or any other substance that would impair your abilities behind the wheel, putting yourself and those around you in a dangerous situation.

Proof of Guilt Under California Marijuana Laws

Because there is not at this time a way to precisely test the amount of marijuana in your system beyond simply proving that it is present or not, there is also no specific amount that can be determined or considered as the threshold of proof of illegal impairment. This does not, however, mean that you cannot be charged with a DUI based on several other factors. Some of these include your responses in a Field Sobriety Test, the pattern of your driving, your behavior and interactions with law enforcement after being pulled over, and having marijuana or paraphernalia in your possession or in your vehicle.

Possible Penalties for a First Time Marijuana DUI

If you are convicted of driving under the influence of marijuana, the following penalties are possible.

  • From 96 hours to six months in county jail
  • Driver’s license suspension of 6 to 10 months
  • Fines from $390 to $1,000
  • 3 to 5 years of informal probation

The state of California increases their penalties for DUI convictions of any kind that are accrued within a ten year period of time, upping your potential jail time, fines, license restrictions and suspensions and probation periods. For DUIs in which someone is injured or killed, you could be facing a misdemeanor or even felony DUI, with up to 16 years in state prison and steep fines and other restrictions.

If you have been the victim in an accident that was caused by a driver who was under the influence of marijuana, you may be entitled to compensation and our personal injury attorneys in Los Angeles can help. If you would like to discuss your case and the compensation that you deserve for your recovery, we invite you to contact our offices today for a free consultation. We are ready to help you fight for what’s fair.