Charged with DUI for THC in your system?
Arrested for drugged driving? Marijuana DUI is one of the most common types of drugged driving arrests in California. Gold & Witham is prepared to help you fight your charges so that you can avoid harsh penalties like jail and license suspension.
In California, marijuana use is legal within certain parameters – you have to hold a valid medical license and you can only possess a certain amount at any given time. But whether you were using marijuana legally or recreationally, you could be charged with DUI for having THC in your system, the active ingredient in cannabis.
California's driving under the influence law makes it a crime to drive with alcohol in your system, drugs in your system, or any combination of alcohol and drugs.
How Alcohol DUI Differs from Marijuana DUI
Both alcohol and marijuana have the ability to impair a person's faculties and make driving dangerous. One of the major differences, however, is in measuring concentration. With alcohol, the legal limit is .08 percent at which point a person is considered incapable of unimpaired driving. With THC, there is no such threshold. This means that virtually any level of THC in your bloodstream could be used to justify a DUI conviction in California.
THC also stays in your system much longer than alcohol does. Even if you got high a week ago, a chemical test today could still show traces of THC. They key is in proving that you were not impaired at the time of your arrest, which is where a skilled DUI attorney comes into play.
Marijuana DUI: Affirmative Defenses
Not under the influence
It could be an affirmative defense against your DUI charge that you were not impaired at the time of the police stop. California Vehicle Code § 23152 states that, "It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any drug to drive a vehicle." In order to justify a conviction, the prosecution must show beyond a reasonable doubt that you were under the drug's influence at the time.
Marijuana for medical use
Another potential defense could be that you were using cannabis lawfully. People who require marijuana for medical uses like pain management shouldn't be punished for it. The Compassionate Use Act allows physicians to recommend the use of marijuana for certain specified medical conditions including "chronic pain". For those in possession of a valid physician's recommendation, possession of up to eight ounces of dried marijuana is legal.
If you were using marijuana in a legal capacity and you were later arrested for marijuana DUI, we may be able to help you get your charges reduced or dismissed.