Marijuana may be legal in California, but it is still a crime to operate a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you have been arrested for a marijuana DUI you could face serious criminal penalties.
Contact Los Angeles marijuana DUI attorney Ambrosio E. Rodriguez to learn about how he can help you fight the charges you face. Mr. Rodriguez has nearly two decades of legal experience, including 13 years as a California state prosecutor. Today, he draws from his experience as a prosecutor to offer his clients unparalleled legal representation. He knows that your future is at stake and will fight to secure the best possible outcome in your criminal case. It is important to act quickly, so do not hesitate to call The Rodriguez Law Group today.
What is a Marijuana DUI?
In California, it is a crime to drive a vehicle while you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Vehicle Code Section 23152(f) makes it a criminal offense for a person “who is under the influence of any drug to drive a vehicle. This includes the recently-legalized drug, marijuana.
In order to be convicted of a marijuana DUI, the prosecution will have to prove each of the following elements of the crime:
- You operated a motor vehicle; and
- You were under the influence of marijuana.
There are no requirements that you break any other law, such as speeding or causing another person to suffer an injury. The fact that you operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana is sufficient to satisfy the elements of the crime.
Proving You Were Under the Influence of Marijuana
What does it mean to be under the influence, for the purposes of this law? You will be considered under the influence of marijuana if your physical and/or mental abilities are compromised and, as a result, you cannot operate the vehicle in the same way that a sober person would. For alcohol-related DUIs, there is a blood-alcohol level (BAC) threshold that is used to help establish intoxication. When your BAC exceeds this threshold, you will be considered to be under the influence. When your BAC falls short of this threshold, you may not be considered to be under the influence. However, there is currently no such threshold for marijuana use.
In fact, chemical testing for marijuana intoxication is not currently reliable. Even though chemical testing can show that there is marijuana in your system, there is no way for these results to indicate when you used the drug and if you are currently under the influence. As a result, prosecutors must rely on other evidence to prove that you were under the influence of marijuana, which may include:
- Your physical appearance;
- Slurred speech, dilated pupils, and confusion;
- Refusal to submit to chemical testing;
- The conversations you have with police;
- Erratic driving;
- Failure of field sobriety tests; and/or
- The presence of marijuana and/or paraphernalia in your car.
Consequences of Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana
A marijuana DUI is misdemeanor offense in Los Angeles. However, the penalties that you will face will depend on the number of prior marijuana DUI convictions you have.
First Offense: Your first marijuana DUI conviction will be punishable by between 96 hours to 6 months in a Los Angeles County jail, suspension of your driver’s license for 6 months, and $1,000 in fines.
Second Offense: Your second marijuana DUI conviction will be punishable by between 90 days to one year in a Los Angeles County jail, suspension of your driver’s license for up to 2 years, and $1,000 in fines. *This second DUI conviction must be within 10 years of your initial marijuana DUI conviction.
Third and Subsequent Offenses: Subsequent marijuana DUI convictions will be punishable by between 120 days and one year in a Los Angeles County jail, permanent revocation of your driver’s license, and $1,000 in fines.
In addition to these punishments, you may also be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. This can be an expensive and incredibly inconvenient consequence of a marijuana DUI.
Fighting Marijuana DUI Charges in Los Angeles
Marijuana DUI charges can be incredibly difficult to prosecute. This is mostly due to the fact that it is hard for the prosecution to prove that you were under the influence of marijuana. You can make the prosecution’s job even more difficult by arguing certain legal defenses. These defenses are generally asserted to explain, excuse, and/or justify your alleged behavior. When these defenses are persuasive the prosecution will have a difficult time proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Defenses that may be helpful in your Los Angeles marijuana DUI case include:
- You were not under the influence of marijuana;
- Police failed to properly administer field sobriety tests;
- You have been falsely accused;
- Your ability to drive was not impaired; and/or
- The results of the chemical tests are incorrect.
If your Constitutional rights were violated the police should not be able to benefit from breaking the law. Your rights may have been violated if there was no probable cause to pull you over, if police conducted an unwarranted search, or if you were not advised of your Miranda rights. If we believe that your rights have been violated, The Rodriguez Law Group will file a petition to suppress any evidence that is tainted by this violation. When evidence is suppressed the prosecution cannot use it against you in the criminal proceedings.
Call Los Angeles Marijuana DUI Defense Attorney Ambrosio Rodriguez
Have you been arrested for a marijuana DUI in Los Angeles? Call The Rodriguez Law Group for immediate legal assistance. If you are convicted of a marijuana DUI your life will be changed forever. In addition to facing jail time and steep fines, you may also lose the ability to drive. This can limit your ability to get to work, take care of your family, and live a normal life. You have the power to fight the marijuana DUI charges against you, and our experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys can help.
Contact our Los Angeles office today to schedule a free consultation. We will review your case, determine if your rights have been violated, and explain how we would fight the charges against you.