Although the recreational use of marijuana is now legal in many states, including California, DUI of marijuana is still a crime across the United States.
Marijuana DUI is a possibility, even if you are a medical marijuana user. California still makes it illegal to drive while under the influence of drugs, including marijuana, regardless of whether or not it’s for medical purposes. At the time of your marijuana DUI arrest, you may also face charges for possession of marijuana and possession of marijuana while driving.
DUI of Marijuana and Field Sobriety Tests
If you are pulled over or stopped at a DUI checkpoint on suspicion of driving under the influence in Fresno the officer will typically perform several field sobriety tests as well as a breathalyzer and/or blood test. While the breathalyzer can be used to determine whether or not you have been drinking, it cannot determine if you have been smoking marijuana. Blood tests would be used to determine if any trace of the drug is in your system. Medical marijuana users who face marijuana DUI may face legal issues due to the fact that THC, found in marijuana, stays in the body for longer periods of time. In fact, the lifespan of THC ranges depending on a variety of issues, including:
- The amount of marijuana consumed
- The concentration of the THC
- Personal tolerance to marijuana
These factors make it much more difficult to prove that you were under the influence of marijuana at the time you were driving.
Proving Marijuana DUI
In order to be convicted of marijuana DUI in California the prosecutor must prove that the driver was impaired to such an extent that he or she no longer possessed the:
“ability to drive with the caution characteristic of a sober person of ordinary prudence under the same or similar circumstances”.
The prosecutor will typically rely on several factors, including:
- Driving pattern
- Physical appearance
- Field Sobriety Test results
- Chemical tests showing marijuana in the bloodstream
This will typically be based on testimony from the arresting officer and what is known as a DRE. A DRE is a Drug Recognition Evaluator. A DRE is trained to determine if someone is under the influence of a drug, and if so, what type of drug it is. In marijuana DUI cases the DRE would typically testify that you displayed signs and symptoms that are consistent with marijuana use.
Fighting Marijuana DUI Charges
There are a variety of defenses that a DUI attorney can present on your behalf:
- The effects of marijuana on driving ability are highly disputed.
- There is no accurate test to determine when you used marijuana.
- Chemical tests do not determine how much marijuana was used.
An experienced DUI attorney will also question the procedures that were used in determining that you were under the influence of marijuana at the time of your marijuana DUI arrest. For more information or to confidentially discuss your marijuana DUI case do not hesitate to contact us today at (559) 222-5800. In most instances, an appointment can be scheduled for the same day.