Many of our clients assume that when a person is stopped on suspicion for driving under the influence, that it is under the influence of alcohol. In reality, a DUI is charged under California Vehicle Code §23152, and 23153. The statute reads
” (a) 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.”
The relevant code section specifically makes it unlawful to be driving under the influence of any drug, not just alcohol. This means that a person who is under the influence of marijuana, methamphetamines, and other drugs, including prescription drugs, may be found guilty of a DUI, even if they have not had any alcohol at all.
Even though marijuana is a commonly used drug, and in many cases it is used lawfully with the use of a prescription, it is still unlawful for a person to drive while under the influence of marijuana. Many of our clients believe that marijuana is more difficult to test for, and officers cannot easily determine when a person is under the influence of marijuana in comparison to alcohol.
This is not always the case. Marijuana can be detected through a blood test if the marijuana is consumed three to six hours of blood draw. However, it is not a sufficient indication of impaired behavior. Whereas a blood alcohol level of .08% or higher indicates that a person is too impaired to operate a vehicle, there is no set limit of marijuana that can accurately reflect an impairment in the driver.
Urine testing is the same way when it comes to marijuana. It can accurately detect the presence of marijuana, but it cannot indicate the impairment of a driver.
Impairment due to marijuana may be reflective in certain observations by the officer. In cases where a person is too impaired to operate a vehicle due to the influence of
marijuana the following factors will be present:
• Horizontal gaze nystagmus is not present
• Vertical gaze nystagmus is not present
• There is a lack of convergence
• Pupil size is normal to dilated
• Reaction to light is normal or slow
• Pulse rate is elevated
• And blood pressure is elevated
The tests and observations that allow an officer to arrest a person on suspicion of driving under the influence of marijuana is too subjective. This leaves a lot of room for argument and defense. A knowledgeable Los Angeles DUI Lawyer can prepare a powerful argument on your behalf that demonstrates to prosecutors that even though you may have had marijuana present in your body, you were not impaired to the point where you could not properly operate a motor vehicle. It is difficult for prosecutors to prove impairment due to marijuana. Take advantage of the weakness of the government’s case and consult a professional today to ensure that your case gets dismissed, or in the very least reduced.