Marijuana DUI Lawyer


It is unlawful to drive while under the influence of marijuana (or alcohol or any other drug) by Vehicle Code 23152. “Under the influence” is not specifically defined in the statute, but is interpreted to imply some degree of impairment. Therefore the mere fact of having taken a toke of marijuana does not necessarily mean one is driving under the influence. When faced with a Marijuana DUI charge in Sonoma County, it is important to keep this in mind and work with an experienced Sonoma County attorney who has deep knowledge of the specific laws and protocol regarding both DUI and Marijuana charges in California.

For evidence of impairment, officers may administer a field sobriety test. Arrestees may also be required to submit to their choice of a urine or blood test under Vehicle code 23612. Since marijuana is detectable for much longer periods in urine than in blood (several days vs. several hours), a positive urine test constitutes much weaker proof of recent use and impairment than a positive blood test. If you haven’t smoked marijuana recently and are not under the influence, you are better off to choose a blood test, since you will probably pass it. However, if you are a frequent smoker or have smoked recently, you are better off to choose a urine test; even though you can expect to test positive, the question will at least remain open as to whether you were actually “under the influence” at the time of arrest.

Aside from the blood test, evidence presented by the prosecution for a DUI marijuana case will also include the comments from the arresting officer. These comments include:

Physical appearance
Performance with field sobriety tests
Erratic driving
Incriminating statements

There are many complications in proving the crime of driving under the influence of marijuana. Mostly due to a lack of scientific research, the prosecution for these crimes is still a new development. Science is still unable to compare the amount of drugs to the amount of impairment caused by them and identify the individual tolerance to particular drugs.

Police have been implementing DRE programs. DRE stands for “Drug Recognition Examination.” The process involves a multi step approach of field evaluation. The object of the DRE is to detect and identify specific drug impairment of the driver arrested for a DUI. Marijuana and other drugs are purported to be detectable using the process. However, the examination is not as accurate as the police claim and the DRE is often not performed in the correct manner. The DRE evaluation takes about 30 to 40 minutes to perform correctly. Although some Courts have ruled the procedure admissible in a criminal prosecution, many attorneys have argued the contrary.

In California, first time DUI offense prosecuted under 23152(a) is a misdemeanor punishable by maximum of 6 months in county jail, a fine between $390 and $1,000, mandatory alcohol program, suspended or restricted license and 3 year probation. If the prosecution involves a person under 21, conviction will result in 1 year license suspension. If the impaired driving results in bodily injury or death, even the first time offense can be prosecuted as a felony punishable by imprisonment in state prison.

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana, it is in your interest to retain a local Orange County or Los Angeles County DUI lawyer who understands how to handle this highly technical area of DUI defense. Contact the Reynoso Law Firm today at (877) DUI-PROS. Attorney Michael C. Li is experienced in defending all areas of California DUI laws and will make every effort to help you avoid the most serious penalties and repercussions to your alleged offense. Call today for a free consultation and to discuss your marijuana DUI case.

The Reynoso Law Firm provides answers to clients in search of information pertaining to marijuana laws in Los Angeles and Orange County.