/ 11.28.23

How Can Police Prove Marijuana Intoxication?

Written by: Doug Ridley

What to Know If You Are Arrested for a Marijuana DUI

In California, cannabis is legal for both medicinal and recreational purposes, but it is still unlawful to drive while impaired by the substance. Unlike alcohol which has a set legal limit, it can be more challenging to determine if a person is under the influence or intoxicated by marijuana. Proving impairment, therefore, must be done by more than just a test result.

At Ridley Defense, we provide dedicated defense for individuals who have been charged with driving under the influence of marijuana. Our experienced legal team is here to help you understand your rights and help to mitigate the consequences of a DUI arrest or potential conviction. If you were arrested for a marijuana DUI, contact our office at (805) 208-1866 to schedule a complimentary consultation. 

What Is a Marijuana DUI?

California Vehicle Code Section 23152(f) makes it unlawful to drive under the influence of any drug. Even though marijuana is legal in the state, it is still illegal to drive while impaired by the substance. Therefore, if you are stopped for a traffic violation or at a checkpoint, and the officer suspects that you are driving under the influence of marijuana, they could arrest you. 

A marijuana DUI carries many of the same penalties as a DUI based on alcohol consumption. You could be required to pay a fine of $390 plus penalty assessments, face a suspended license, and even jail time. If you are facing charges based on a DUI with drugs, you need to speak to an attorney as soon as possible.

What Is Considered Impaired?

Unlike alcohol, there is no “per se” limit for intoxication of marijuana. Therefore, the officer must use other factors to determine whether you were impaired by the drug and, therefore, under the influence.

If you are arrested for a marijuana DUI you will be required to submit to a chemical test to determine the level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in your system. If you refuse a chemical test, you could face additional penalties. Additionally, you may be convicted of a marijuana DUI even without a blood test to confirm THC levels.

How Does a Police Officer Prove Marijuana Intoxication?

An officer may consider several factors to determine whether you are impaired by marijuana. Ultimately, the blood test will say what the level of THC is in your system. 

Factors an officer may take into consideration to prove marijuana intoxication:

  • Erratic driving (slow driving, weaving, running stop lights, etc.)
  • Slurred speech
  • An odor of marijuana
  • Statements that you make to the officer
  • Dilated pupils or red, bloodshot eyes
  • Reaction time

In some cases, the officer that makes the stop may call in a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE). A DRE is specially trained in drug detection and will do a 12-step process to determine whether you are under the influence of marijuana or another substance.

Contact Our Office for a Complimentary Consultation

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana, contact our office at (805) 208-1866 to schedule a complimentary consultation. You should not enter a plea until you have had the chance to consult with an attorney. Call now to get started. 

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