Serving The Inland Empire & San Diego

marijuana plants

How do the police know I am driving under the influence of marijuana?

As of January 1, 2018, recreational use of marijuana became legal under California Law. There’s still much confusion around the specifics of this new law, but one of the most important questions that people are wondering is how a police officer will be able to tell when someone is driving under the influence of marijuana. Recreational marijuana use will be treated very similar to that of alcohol. In order to stay compliant, it’s important to keep up to date with this burgeoning area of law.

Driving under the influence (DUI) of marijuana is a crime under California Vehicle Code 23152(e) VC and because of so much controversy happening with the legalization of marijuana in California, law enforcement is likely to spend more of their resources enforcing marijuana DUI laws.

Proving that someone is impaired while driving because of marijuana can be difficult for a prosecutor since there is currently no set amount of marijuana in the bloodstream that can be measured to establish impairment.  Unlike alcohol, California law enforcement has yet to officially adopt the use of equipment to test the level of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in your system. The only way to really measure the THC in the bloodstream is to have a chemical test done which requires a lab. Some may think this is great news, but this offense is not one to be taken lightly particularly in Orange county.

Orange County has over 300 police officers who are trained as official drug recognition experts. This vigorous training teaches officers how to recognize signs of impairment from drug usage. This means that if you drive under the influence of marijuana and a drug recognition expert suspects you of driving under the influence, you can be asked to undergo a specialized 12-step field sobriety test made for people under the influence of drugs. If you fail this sobriety test, you will then be arrested on suspicion of DUI and taken into custody to take the chemical test at the police station. Similar to driving under the influence of alcohol, driving under the influence of marijuana can affect your future driving privileges and personal freedoms. It will be a tough case to win without an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side.

Committed to your defense, The Law Offices of Michael A. Scafiddi has been providing professional advocacy in various types of civil and criminal matters throughout Southern California. We provide legal services for criminal defense matters ranging from misdemeanor to felony offenses. These areas of practice include, but are not limited to, DUI’s, Vehicular manslaughter, Drug offense, theft, domestic violence, and post-conviction relief. The Office of Michael A. Scafiddi also handles Administrative Per Se hearings with the Department of Motor Vehicles for clients facing DUI charges. Call us today at 909-381-1000 to make an appointment.