Marijuana Use and Its Association With DUI Charges
Posted By Law Offices of Scott Henry || Jul 27, 2016
When you renew your vehicle's registration or visit the DMW, you will almost always see a chart on blood alcohol content. The state of California has strict rules about this substance being in your bloodstream as you drive around town. However, this rule doesn't translate to marijuana intoxication. In fact, it's much harder for a police officer to charge a person with marijuana impairment because there's no current legislation quantifying the intoxication level. If you find yourself being charged with marijuana DUI, you need the help of Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange County's leading DUI defense law firm. Take a close look at marijuana and its effects on local roads.
Defining Legal Limits
Technically, marijuana use is illegal from a federal standpoint. Individual states, however, are allowed to make their own laws based on local culture. Many states now have either recreational or medicinal marijuana laws in place. People are allowed to use a certain amount of pot for their personal needs. No one is allowed to drive while using marijuana. As more people abide by the marijuana laws, law-enforcement personnel are seeing violations on the road. They might pull someone over for several reasons, such as:
- Excessive slow driving on the road
- Failing to follow traffic lights or stop signs
Only the state of Washington has tried to quantify traffic stops by stating that a person is intoxicated if they have more than five nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood in their system.
Problematic Time Frames
If you're charged with marijuana intoxication in the state of Washington, there's still questionable circumstances that a criminal defense attorney can bring up. Marijuana doesn't act the same as alcohol in a person's body. Alcohol is merely present in the bloodstream immediately following consumption. It's quickly absorbed and filtered through the digestive system as the person sobers up.
Marijuana has these main features, including:
- Thirteen-minute lag time before the high is even felt
- Forty minutes of actual intoxication
- Varying THC levels with each marijuana batch
A reputable lawyer can argue that a person wasn't actually intoxicated when he or she was driving because THC or the chemical high remains in the system for days and weeks. A regular marijuana smoker can be technically high at all times because THC is detectable in the blood around the clock.
Looking Into Technology-Based Solutions
Both scientists and law officers are looking into a device that may or may not be possible for accurate marijuana measurements. Similar to a breathalyzer, these potential tools give officers THC measurements in the field. A person blows into the device, and it tells the officer how long the THC has been in the bloodstream. The THC volume and time frame tells the officer if the person is truly intoxicated. However, this technology is still being developed.
An Illinois Example
A man, who smoked marijuana a week before a car crash, was convicted of killing his passenger while under the influence of THC. The marijuana chemical was found in his bloodstream immediately following the crash. The best lawyer can't fight these facts because Illinois defines any trace of marijuana in the system to be an intoxicated situation. This person is now in jail for 14 years, but he may not have caused the crash at all. The THC might have been residual elements from his use a week before.
Debating the Possibilities
At this time, California can only base a marijuana-intoxication charge on strict observations, such as:
- Driving demeanor
- Prior moving-violation charges
- Personal mannerisms during law-officer interactions
Being charged with intoxication is a vague concept until a real tool is approved for use on the roads. Law officials direct their officers to use common sense with potential DUI drivers. Because of the uncertain charges brought against many people, a strong attorney can easily have the accusations thrown out of court.
Understanding Intoxication Consequences
California's laws are strict regarding intoxication charges. Once convicted, you face several challenges, including:
- 180-days in jail
- Up to five years of probation
- Mandatory driving-under-the-influence school
- Loss of driving privileges
- $1,000 fine
It's critical to avoid conviction, and contact an experienced legal professional. You'll have the tools to drop those charges as soon as possible.
Call Scott Henry today at 888-900-0951, and he can build a solid case for you. As one of the leading criminal defense attorneys in Southern California, he can look over your case in fine detail in order to find any issues. It's possible to fight marijuana-intoxication charges with our law firm backing you up.