Orange County Marijuana DUI Attorney
In California, while it is now legal to use marijuana recreationally, it is still against the law to drive a vehicle while under its influence. If you are observed by law enforcement to be operating a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana, you will be required to take field sobriety tests, and shortly thereafter a chemical test, such as a blood test. The results of these tests may ultimately lead to the suspension or loss of your driver’s license.
If you live in Orange County and you or a family member have been arrested for a marijuana DUI, it is imperative that you speak to and retain an experienced attorney who is knowledgeable about this relatively new area of the law. Fortunately, such attorneys exist in Orange County at The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian. The attorneys at this firm have expertise in analyzing, and if the cause is found, challenging the results of the different devices that are used to administer the various chemical tests employed to determine the level of marijuana in your bloodstream.
Since the loss of your driving privileges is a serious matter, you must have nothing less than talented and knowledgeable attorneys representing you. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian have experience with all types of DUI cases. They know how to best represent you and implement a legal strategy that hopefully will defeat, or significantly reduce, the serious DUI implications that you face. Contact them for a consultation today. You will be impressed by their professionalism, their interest in your case, and their determination to help you.
Marijuana DUI and Possession of Marijuana While Driving
Two sections of the California Vehicle Code address the use and possession of marijuana while driving.
First, section 23152(f) of the Vehicle Code criminalizes driving while under the influence of marijuana. Under this section of the Code, you will be liable for a marijuana DUI arrest if: a) you have used marijuana prior to driving; b) you are driving a vehicle; c) a law enforcement official believes that your physical and mental abilities were impaired by your use of marijuana so that you no longer have the ability to operate your vehicle with the care and caution that an ordinary and sober person would use in driving a vehicle.
Second, section 23222(b) of the Vehicle Code criminalizes your possession of marijuana while you are driving. You will be in violation of this section of the code if you are driving a vehicle at a time when you are in possession of less than one ounce of marijuana. Pursuant to this law, you can be found in violation of the Code even if the marijuana that you possess while driving is located in a bag in the backseat of your vehicle and is not within your reach.
Penalties for a Marijuana DUI
Section 23536 of the Vehicle Code sets forth the various penalties for a marijuana DUI conviction. These include:
- Potential jail time of up to 6 months;
- A fine of up to $1,000 plus penalty assessments;
- Probation for a period of up to three years;
- The suspension of your driving privileges for up to 6 months; and
- A requirement that you attend, and participate in a DUI driving school.
These penalties are similar to those for an individual convicted of a DUI offense involving alcohol.
The potential penalties that you will be liable to receive also are influenced by any past marijuana DUI convictions that you may have received. A first-time offender may receive a fine of up to $1,000 plus penalty assessments, jail time ranging from 2 days to 6 months, and a 6-month suspension of a driver’s license. In contrast, a second-time offender is likely to receive a more severe penalty which might result in a fine of $1,000 plus penalty assessments, jail time of 4 days to one year, and a 1-year driver’s license suspension. A third-time offender is likely to receive a still harsher penalty of a fine of up to $1,000 plus penalty assessments, jail time of 120 days to one year, and a 3-year driver’s license revocation.
Defenses for a Marijuana DUI
In defending a marijuana DUI case, the skill and legal talent of an experienced attorney cannot be overestimated. The selection of an attorney can play a decisive role in a subsequent conviction or acquittal of the DUI charge. With their attention to detail and their consummate knowledge of the California Vehicle Code, the skilled lawyers at The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian will use every tactic to mount a formidable defense on your behalf.
They will do so by probing and finding weaknesses in the evidence that the prosecution presents against you. First, they will challenge the results of the chemical tests that were administered to you. These tests are imperfect and can be unreliable as they may show high THC levels for up to 12 hours after an individual uses marijuana, long after the impairing effects of the drug have disappeared.
Second, they may challenge the traffic stop by showing that there was no reasonable suspicion that criminal activity was afoot for it to have occurred, as there was nothing in your driving, manner of speaking, and physical appearance to justify the stop.
Third, they can defend the charge against you by producing convincing evidence that you were not impaired at the time that you were stopped.
Finally, they may challenge the arrest by eliciting evidence at a suppression motion hearing through cross-examination that the arresting officer either did not follow proper procedures in making the arrest, lacked probable cause for the arrest or had received inadequate and incomplete training to perform his or her job.
A skillful DUI attorney will employ these and other defenses that can be raised on your behalf.
How Does the Prosecution Prove the Case?
A skillful DUI attorney will not only know the correct defenses to raise on your behalf but will also know the elements that the prosecution must present to prove their case. A knowledgeable attorney will highlight any elements of the offense that the prosecution has failed to prove.
Marijuana DUI cases differ from alcohol DUI cases in one important respect. In alcohol DUI cases, the prosecution can prove impairment by showing that the blood alcohol concentration in your bloodstream exceeded a reading of 0.08 on the testing device. In contrast, there is no standard or set amount of marijuana in your bloodstream to establish and prove that you were driving while impaired by the use of Marijuana. Instead, section 23152 of the California Vehicle Code allows the prosecution to establish impairment by presenting subjective evidence related to the manner in which you had been driving prior to the traffic stop, your physical appearance and behavior after you have been stopped, and the manner of your speech in addressing the police officer who stopped you.
In addition to such evidence witnessed at the time of the traffic stop, the prosecution can also meet its burden of proof by showing convincing evidence obtained from the results of your chemical test, and also from the observations of a drug recognition expert who was present at the time of the traffic stop.
Contact a Marijuana DUI Attorney in Orange County Today
The job of a skilled and successful marijuana DUI attorney is to demonstrate conclusively that the prosecution has failed to meet their burden in establishing that you were driving while impaired by marijuana and thus not under the influence of Marijuana for the purposes of driving a motor vehicle. With the presence of high stakes, including but not limited to the suspension and loss of your driving privileges, you need competent counsel to defend you. The experienced attorneys at The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian will use the full range of their legal skills to defend you. Contact us today online or by telephone.
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