Under California Vehicle Code §23152(e), “it is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any drug to drive a vehicle.” This law applies to both illicit and legal drugs. Unlike alcohol related DUI’s, a Marijuana DUI does not have a specific level of impairment, and no per se law. This means that there is no specific numeric threshold to identify when someone is under the influence of marijuana. Thus, a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that as a result of ingesting marijuana, a person’s mental or physical abilities are so impaired that he or she is no longer able to drive a vehicle with the caution of a sober person, using ordinary care, under similar circumstances.
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Since there is no specific limit in Marijuana DUI’s, prosecutors will look at the quantity of the metabolites in your system, the officer’s observation of driving, observations of physical symptoms of impairment, and observations of mental abilities to follow directions and perform tasks properly. A Marijuana DUI investigation, is conducted very similarly to an alcohol DUI investigation, except an officer must be looking for specific cues that suggest marijuana impairment, not alcohol impairment. Usually an officer that is a drug recognition expert (DRE) will conduct the Marijuana DUI investigation. They request the subject to complete standardized field sobriety tests, while looking for cues of impairment. Based on their analysis, they form an opinion about whether the individual was too impaired to drive, and make a recommendation in their report to the prosecutor.
DMV - Marijuana DUI
The DMV does not have statutory authority to proceed with an Administrative Per Se hearing for an arrest that was made specifically for suspicion of Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana. Once the DMV gets the information about the chemical test result, they will set the matter aside, or provide a notice that “no action” is being taken at this time.
It is crucial to note that if a hearing is not requested within 10 days of the arrest, and a 30 day temporary license was issued at the time of the arrest, the DMV may issue a default suspension for failing to request a hearing. However, once the results of the chemical test come in, and show that there was no alcohol impairment, the DMV should set the matter aside without an APS hearing.
It is important to get an attorney that is experienced in handling Marijuana DUI’s because there are many ways to defend this type of case. The Law Office of Ben Mironer investigates every Marijuana DUI case thoroughly. We apply are legal expertise in the field of DUI to get our clients the best results possible in these kinds of cases. Often times, we are able to convince a prosecutor that there is insufficient evidence to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. By doing so, we have been able to get charges reduced to non-DUI related offenses or outright dismissals.