California Vehicle Code §23152 and §23153 make it unlawful for a person to be operating a vehicle if they are under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both. With recent changes in recreational marijuana many of our clients receive DUI charges for driving under the influence of marijuana. Because it is a newly passed law, and the legislature still has to work through the different issues, there is a sense of confusion as to what is legal and illegal.
It may be legal to participate in medicinal or recreational marijuana, just like it is legal to consume alcohol if you are of appropriate age. However, it is illegal to operate any type of vehicle, while under the influence of either alcohol, or marijuana.
The law is clear. If you are intoxicated, and are operating a vehicle, you can be charged with a DUI in Los Angeles. What is unclear, however, is how officers can prove that you are under the influence of marijuana alone. This is why an experienced and knowledgeable Los Angeles DUI lawyer is a significant asset in your case.
A Los Angeles DUI attorney, such as Hoffman and Associates, have handled thousands of cases in over thirty years of practice. They know precisely what arguments to make, and what defenses to raise, to ensure that the gray area of law works in your favor. If prosecutors cannot demonstrate that you were intoxicated while operating a while beyond a reasonable doubt, they cannot win their case, and you cannot be found guilty. Let’s consider an example to better demonstrate this idea.
Dina does not drink alcohol. She has marijuana occasionally, often in the evenings to relax. One night she is with friends and she has some recreational marijuana. She does not drive at that time. About 5 hours later, Dina is no longer under the influence of marijuana, she drives over to her friend’s place where she is meeting people for dinner. Dina is also sick. She has a runny nose, and watery eyes from allergies. On her way to her friend’s place, she runs a stop sign and is pulled over my officers. The officers see Dina’s water eyes and determine that she is under the influence of alcohol or marijuana and ask her to submit to a blood test. Dina agrees, thinking there is no issue since she is not under the influence. Upon receiving the test results, officers determine there is marijuana in her system and she is arrested for a DUI.
The problem with marijuana is that it remains in your system, long after you are no longer impaired, such as with Dina. Officers cannot obtain a blood sample and determine it to be conclusive of impairment, like in alcohol which only lasts a short time in your blood system. This is why a Los Angeles DUI lawyer is one of your best fighting tools for your case. They can prepare strong defenses and arguments that demonstrate you were not impaired at the time of driving, an element that is necessary for a DUI. So don’t take a chance on your future, retain a Los Angles DUI attorney as soon as possible!