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Driving & Marijuana: What Are the Laws?

On November 8th, California voters passed Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), legalizing the recreational use of the drug. However, despite the recent reforms, it is critical for motorists to know that while adults can possess and use the drug, it is still against the law to drive while under the influence (DUI) of marijuana. To learn more about how Prop 64 changes California laws, read our blog post. Below, our blog discusses a few key points of the laws relating to marijuana and driving.

California Vehicle Code § 23152 prohibits the operation of a motor vehicle:

  • While under the influence of any drug
  • While under the influence of alcohol (with a blood alcohol content of .08% or more)
  • While under the influence of a combination of drugs and alcohol
  • By a person who is legally recognized to be addicted to a drug (excluding participants in narcotics treatment programs)

In other words, if a person has taken any drug which impairs their ability to drive, whether it be prescription medication, cocaine, cough syrup, or marijuana, they can be charged with driving while under the influence of drugs (DUID).

How Is DUID Evaluated in California?

Unlike with alcohol, drugs including marijuana have no established standard for levels of intoxication. With alcohol, if a driver is suspected of DUI, the police can conduct breath and chemical tests, while not always reliable, providing an estimate of a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC), which can then be compared it against a legally predetermined standard. If the driver’s BAC is above .08%, they may be guilty of DUI.

However, when it comes to drugs such as marijuana, determining a driver’s level of intoxication is left to the discretion of the arresting officer. This means that if an officer feels as though you are exhibiting signs of intoxication impairing your ability to drive, you could face charges for DUID. This underscores the importance of securing a knowledgeable legal advocate immediately after an accusation for DUID has been made.

Attorney Fighting DUID Charges

Make no mistake, the legality of Marijuana in California in no way reduces the severity of penalties for driving while under the influence of drugs. If you are facing charges for DUID, do not waste any time in contacting the Law Offices of Evan E. Zelig, P.C. Our Santa Rosa DUI attorney can help you to understand the nature of your case and how to overcome the charges that you face.

Accused of a crime? Call (707) 418-5352 or contact us online to discover how our firm can help.