Alcohol is not the only intoxicant that can get you arrested for DUI in California. It’s illegal in this state to drive under the influence of a number of drugs, including common products like Ambien. Drug-related DUI charges can be more complicated than alcohol-related charges, because the law sets no precise legal level for these drugs. It’s illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content level at .08 percent or above, for example, but there’s no precise limit for marijuana consumption in the California DUI law.
Some states do set a limit. In Washington State, where recreational marijuana is legal, a user cannot drive with more than five nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood. (THC – tetrahydrocannabinol – is the active chemical ingredient in marijuana.) In California, however, the law simply states that a driver can be convicted of DUI-marijuana if the driver was not able to drive with the same caution and care as a sober driver.
Typically, California prosecutors in DUI-marijuana cases will rely on a driver’s field sobriety tests, the reason for the traffic stop, and the chemical testing results. But field sobriety tests are always questionable, and THC can stay in the blood hours after the effects of marijuana have faded. Some people do believe there should be a precise THC limit for drivers in California; the debate is certain to continue.
Those who are arrested for DUI-marijuana, or for any other DUI charge in California, need legal representation. A DUI conviction of any type leads to severe personal repercussions, so it’s vital for DUI defendants to be cognizant of their legal rights and options. If you are charged with DUI-marijuana (or any DUI) in California, speak to an experienced DUI defense attorney at once.
A California DUI charge is a real threat to your freedom, your future, your driver’s license, and your finances. A good DUI defense lawyer will assess your case, will help compile evidence and witnesses on your behalf, and will work to have your charge reduced or dismissed entirely. Protect your rights and your future by contacting an experienced DUI defense attorney right away.