Obviously, using marijuana is now legal for California residents over the age of 21 thanks to Proposition 64. However, it is important to understand that it is still against the law to drive under the influence of marijuana, also called a “Weed DUI”. California Vehicle Code section 23152(e) makes it illegal for a person who is under the influence of any drug to drive a vehicle whether or not the drug is legal.
Being “under the influence” of marijuana is established by the following elements:
- As a result of consuming marijuana
- Your mental or physical abilities are so impaired
- You can no longer drive a vehicle with the caution of a sober person, using ordinary care, under similar circumstances
The circumstances of each individual case will dictate whether the prosecutor will actually be able to prove these elements for a “Weed DUI.” Thus, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney prior to appearing in court.
Possible Penalties for a Weed DUI
If you are convicted for a “Weed DUI” the penalties are the same as if you were driving under the influence of alcohol or any other drug; such as cocaine, methamphetamine or others. Just like a conventional DUI, the penalties for a first-time marijuana DUI, i.e. “Weed DUI,” could include:
- Three (3) to five (5) years of informal probation;
- Up to six (6) months in county jail;
- A fine of no less than $390 and up to $1,000;
- DMV driver’s license suspension
- Attend and complete a DUI class as directed by the court;
Each penalty can be increased significantly if you have multiple DUI within a ten (10) year period whether for alcohol, drugs or both and could include significantly more jail time. A skilled criminal defense attorney can help explain the increased penalties and consequences for multiple DUI’s.
If you were arrested for DUI of any drug, including a “Weed DUI,” there are potential defenses at your disposal and you should consult an attorney to make sure your rights are protected. Some defenses include the fact that you were:
- Not driving,
- Did not use a drug,
- Used marijuana but were no longer high when you drove or,
- Your mental and physical abilities were not significantly impaired.
Unlike a conventional DWI of alcohol, there are no accepted scientific standards indicating how marijuana impairs a person’s ability to drive safely or how much marijuana in a person’s system it takes to create an impairment.
If you are cited, charged, or arrested for a violation of CVC 23152(e) – Driving Under the Influence of Drugs, also known as a “Weed DUI” it is important to be aware of all your rights and the defenses available in your particular situation. Do not rest on your rights, contact The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian for a consultation.