Most people drive and don’t think about having their driver’s license in their pocket or purse, and available if asked by a police officer or other individual. But if you reach for it and it’s not there, panic sets in.
Have you been charged with driving while suspended/revoked in California? Are you worried about going to jail, because some of the offenses carry a mandatory sentence?
For the vast majority of criminal charges, if a person pleads guilty or is convicted, they will be granted Probation. As a term of probation, in cases such as DUI (CVC 23152), Domestic Violence (CPC 273), and many others, Defendants are often ordered to complete Classes or Programs that relate directly to the crime or crimes to which they have been convicted.
It is important to understand that whenever you are driving your car, you may be stopped by Law Enforcement Officials. If you are signaled to stop by an Officer, and you keep driving, you may be in violation of California Vehicle Code (CVC) 2800.1(a), which reads:
California Vehicle Code (CVC) 2800.1.
(a) Any person who, while operating a motor vehicle and with the intent to evade, willfully flees or otherwise attempts to elude a pursuing peace officer’s motor vehicle, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year if all of the following conditions exist:
(1) The peace officer’s motor vehicle is exhibiting at least one lighted red lamp visible from the front and the person either sees or reasonably should have seen the lamp.
(2) The peace officer’s motor vehicle is sounding a siren as may be reasonably necessary.
(3) The peace officer’s motor vehicle is distinctively marked.
(4) The peace officer’s motor vehicle is operated by a peace officer, as defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2 of the Penal Code, and that peace officer is wearing a distinctive uniform.
For example: If you are driving on the freeway and notice a CHP Vehicle pulling you over, but you speed up and keep driving because you don’t have a license, you may be in violation under this code, as well as others!
But, if you are driving your pregnant wife to the hospital and see the same CHP vehicle behind you, but do not stop because she is about to give birth, you may have a defense to the charge. The crime of Evading is a crime of Specific Intent, that is that you must be willfully attempting to evade Law Enforcement. If you were continuing to drive because you were worried about a baby being born in your car, you weren’t really driving to evade the police. If you didn’t specifically intend to flee the officer, then you weren’t evading them.
If you or a loved one has been cited or arrested for CVC 2800.1 (Evading a Police Officer) please don’t hesitate, call The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian for a free consultation 855-918-4253.
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,
- Didn’t 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 DUI 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. Don’t rest on your rights, contact The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian at www.KazarianAtLaw.com for a free consultation.