In San Diego, decriminalization of marijuana possession has led to authorities charging more people with driving under the influence of marijuana. After the passing of Proposition 64 in 2016, it is now legal to smoke marijuana for recreational purposes. People with a marijuana card erroneously believe that because they are allowed to smoke marijuana, they can also smoke weed and drive. Even if you have a Marijuana card, it is still illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs (marijuana included). A Marijuana DUI are very serious but can be easy to beat with the right facts.
If you have been charged with a marijuana (weed) DUI, you need a marijuana DUI lawyer with a proven track record to challenge the “scientific” data and ensure that you receive a fair deal. Call Ozols Law Firm today for a free consultation.
The Common Misconception Regarding Marijuana DUI’s (Weed DUIs)
When the cops stop someone on suspicion of driving under the influence of marijuana, they typically perform a blood test. The blood test will indicate two different THC levels:
Carboxy THC is a byproduct of marijuana created by your system, and elevated levels do not indicate intoxication when the officer pulled you over. Hydroxy THC is the actual amount of Marijuana in your system when you took the test. You are not guilty of driving under the influence of marijuana solely for having elevated levels of Carboxy THC in your system.
Often times, the blood test results will show an elevated level of Carboxy THC without an elevated level of Hydroxy THC. Many district attorneys do not understand the difference and will seek to prosecute the driver who only had elevated Carboxy THC levels. But remember, no expert will ever say that one is under the influence if they have Carboxy THC in their system but no Hydroxy THC, which happens often.
Marijuana DUI Lawyers in San Diego
When police pull someone over, the first thing they do is look inside the car and talk to the driver to see if there are additional charges they can bring beyond a regular traffic violation. Often, the officers will ask the individual to roll-down the window in order to smell inside the car. Police officers also rely on the “plain view doctrine.” If they see something in plain view, for example a joint or some small leaves, then they can use this as probable cause to search the vehicle and do a follow up investigation.
Objective symptoms for a Marijuana DUI are very similar to a DUI involving alcohol. The police will look for nystagmus in the eyes, slurred speech, slowed response time and the odor of marijuana.
Can someone really be pulled over for driving too slow?
In California the speeding law is called the “basic speed law.” This law actually works for people going to fast or people going to slow. The basic speed law says that people cannot drive unsafe for the conditions around them. If a driver is driving slower than all the cars around them this would be unsafe for those conditions and they can and will be pulled over.
What field sobriety tests do police often do on a Marijuana DUI?
Police officers will often use the same tests for a drug DUI as they would for an alcohol DUI. Law enforcement officials use these tests to measure impairment, no matter what caused it. The officers will look at one’s eyes to see how they are reacting and whether or not they are shaking while moving. They will also do what is called a “walk and turn test” where the individual walks nine steps forward, pivots and then walks nine steps back.
The “Rhomberg” test, often used by law enforcement, is one where the individual will tilt their head back and estimate 30 seconds. Alcohol and marijuana are depressants so the officers would be looking for the individual to estimate the time over the actual timed 30 seconds.
Officers also use cognitive tests in a drug DUI. For example, a count test, an alphabet test, or just general questions asked to the individual. Police in San Diego will often do a pulse test to see if any drugs in the system have affected one’s heart rate.
How does the DMV treat a Marijuana DUI?
A DUI requires a DMV hearing, and during that hearing the DMV officer will attempt to suspend your license. The DMV decides three issues in a DMV hearing, and one of the issues is whether or not one was above an 0.08 blood alcohol content when pulled over. When one gets stopped for a marijuana DUI their blood alcohol content will often be 0.00. Because of this factor a skilled DUI lawyer can often get the DMV to set aside this hearing giving the driver an opportunity to continue driving without any type of suspension.