\Many of our clients make the mistake of assuming that because they have not had a single alcoholic drink, but have only smoked marijuana, they are immune from being arrested for driving under the influence. This is absolutely not true.
California Vehicle code §23152 and 23153, specifically state that “It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle.”
This means that if you are under the influence of a drug alone and are found driving, you are still in violation of the relevant statue and officers may arrest you for a DUI.
It is more difficult to arrest a person for driving under the influence of marijuana in comparison to alcohol, because it is more difficult for officers to detect its presence in the person’s system. Alcohol may be tested through urine, breathalyzer, and blood. However, the presence of marijuana may not easily be detected right there at the arrest site. It will need to be tested in the blood before an adequate sample for evidence is obtained.
In addition, a person who is under the influence of alcohol may exhibit certain external signs that indicate intoxication. For example, a person may have bloodshot eyes, they may slur, loss of balance and a strong odor of alcohol. Officers can use these observations to conclude a reasonable suspicion that the person is under the influence. However, when a person is under the influence of marijuana, it is harder to observe and officers may not readily be able to do so.
Many of our clients mistakenly believe that if they hold a valid medical marijuana prescription, they have a defense for driving under the influence of the drug. This is absolutely untrue. Even with a valid prescription, it is not legal for you to drive or operate a vehicle. Think of it like alcohol. If you are over the age of 21, consumption of alcohol is legal, but it is never legal to consume alcohol and then drive.
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol,sthe prosecutor may have a weak case against you. As discussed above, it is more difficult for officers to prove that a driver was under the influence of marijuana, than it is to prove the influence of alcohol. Due to the fact that there may be a weak case, it is very important to consult with a Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney as soon as possible. A professional will be able to assess the facts of your case and determine where the prosecution’s weaknesses lie. This will ensure that you have the best possible representation for your case and that your case gets either dismissed or reduced.