Driving Under The Influence Of Marijuana

Orange County DUI Attorneys

In California, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of any substance, lawfully possessed or not, if the substance used causes physical or mental impairment that makes a person unable to drive safely.  Most commonly, California DUI statutes are applied to those driving under the influence of alcohol but not exclusively. 

 

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) - California Vehicle Code §23152(a)

In California, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of any substance, lawfully possessed or not, if the substance used causes physical or mental impairment that makes a person unable to drive safely.  Most commonly, California DUI statutes are applied to those driving under the influence of alcohol but not exclusively.  The law covers all controlled substances, including marijuana, as well as, contrary to some common misconceptions, perfectly lawful substances such as a long list of prescription drugs available on the market today.  Medical marijuana users must be aware that they are not exempt from DUI laws by reason of their medical status.


Defending Marijuana Related DUI.   A skilled lawyer often has an easier task defending marijuana related DUI cases than cases where alcohol is involved.  In drunk driving prosecution, the defendant is presumptively guilty when the blood alcohol level is 0.08 percent or more.  By contrast, there is no set legal threshold - no "guilty" standard for the THC level detected in the defendant's system - for when a person is presumptively impaired when using marijuana.  This lack of a bright line standard makes it more difficult for the prosecution to prove their case.  In addition, an effective, diligent and knowledgeable attorney can often defend these cases successfully by relying on experts and various studies showing lack of scientific agreement on when marijuana causes impairment.  Scientific and expert literature on the subject contains data that there is no impairment if the ingestion took place more than 2 to 3 hours before driving.  Among the best defense tools is the government's own National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation which in 2003 published a cannabis safety study concluding that any effects from using marijuana dissipate quickly after one hour!  Also potentially available, although not always advisable, is the so-called heavy user defense based on the idea that heavy use builds tolerance to impairment.

Our DUI lawyers can often exploit the lack of sophistication, and sometimes simple incompetence, of prosecution's testing laboratories.  Test results often will reveal nothing more than the presence marijuana metabolites without having differentiated between various kinds.  Metabolites are byproducts created after metabolization.  They might or might not be psychoactive and they are not the same as the active drug.  The tests might not be able to distinguish between, for example, the highly potent 11-OH-THC metabolite and the non-psychoactive THC-COOH (carboxy THC) which is marijuana's primary metabolite and which does not cause impairment.  Presence of nonactive metabolites does not indicate either impairment or recency or frequency of use. 

 

Note, however, that presence of marijuana would not make your case easier if you also consumed alcohol, even at less than 0.08 percent blood alcohol level necessary for a conviction for alcohol related drunk driving.  It has been shown, and the prosecution will most certainly argue, that using both alcohol and marijuana significantly increases potential for impairment.  The simple rule is that alcohol and weed do not mix.  Do not do it as you are bound to make your lawyer's job significantly more complicated.

 

If you or someone you know has been arrested for DUI (driving under the influence), much may be at stake. You may be facing fines, driver’s license suspension and imprisonment, along with other penalties such as community service or probation. Your only chance of avoiding maximum penalties and a conviction on your criminal record is to involve a DUI defense attorney as soon as possible.

 

Learn more DUI defenses to a California DUI by talking to one of our experienced DUI attorneys about your particular case. Contact us today!

 

DUI Defense Lawyers

 

To have the greatest opportunity of avoiding the many penalties and negative consequences of DUI conviction, be sure to contact our experienced DUI attorneys as soon as possible. We are here to offer you the aggressive and dedicated representation you deserve. 

 

The Reynoso Law Firm, with offices throughout Orange County, is a well-respected law firm of DUI lawyers specializing in DUI defense exclusively: no clients but those charged with drunk driving (and related charges) are accepted. Mr. Reynoso has been defending Orange County  DUI cases since 1997 and is a graduate of NCDD’s DUI Trial College conducted at Harvard Law School.

 

We invite you to contact us today for a free consultation about your DUI case.  We will even contact the DMV to protect your license absolutely free, whether you retain our firm or not.

 

Call 1(877) DUI-PROS now.

 

 

Local Offices:    ( 7 1 4 ) 5 5 8 - 1 2 0 0

( 9 4 9 ) 6 1 4 - 0 4 0 4

Toll-Free:          ( 8 7 7 ) 3 8 4 - 7 7 6 7

Numerous Offices, Including

Newport Beach, Irvine, Anaheim Hills, Huntington Beach, Mission Viejo, Orange, Costa Mesa, RSM & Beverly Hills

Proud Member

Partial List of Credentials

1(877) DUI-PROS

(949) 614-0404   *   (714) 558-1200

Free Consultation

DUI Lawyers

100% DUI DEFENSE