As of January 1, 2018, the recreational use of marijuana in the state of California is legal due to the passage of Proposition 64. Purchasers and users must be at least 21 years of age, and the taxes collected on both the cultivation and sale will go towards drug treatment and research, youth programs, and measures aimed at reducing environmental damage that comes from the illegal manufacturing of the plant. But what happens if you're caught driving after partaking in marijuana? Here's what you need to know about the new laws if you're arrested.
It's illegal to drive after consuming marijuana
Although it's legal to smoke marijuana, it's still illegal to get behind the wheel and drive if you've consumed it in any fashion. If a police officer suspects that you're driving under the influence, they can pull you over and put you through a field sobriety test just as they could if they suspected you had consumed alcohol.
Officers can put you through a breath or blood test
If you fail a field sobriety test, or if the officer sees or smells marijuana, they can ask you to submit to a breathalyzer. If you pass that, they may ask you to submit to a blood test to check for the presence of drugs.
If your blood tests positive for THC-9, the active ingredient in marijuana, the prosecution will argue that your driving performance and demeanor combined with the presence of the drug shows that you were driving under the influence.
There are no blood limits for marijuana when testing
If you're tested for the presence of alcohol, you're considered over the legal limit if your BAC exceeds 0.08%, unless you're a commercial driver and that limit drops to 0.04%.
In California, however, there isn't a legal limit or a level of THC-9 that's considered to be illegal for the purposes of driving. Just the presence alone is an indicator that you could have been driving under the influence.
Attorneys have powerful defenses for marijuana DUI
If you've been arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana, there are a number of defenses your attorney may use when fighting your case.
A DWI attorney may want to use one or all of the above defenses if they apply to you.
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