Many states have varying laws regarding the consumption of marijuana and the operation of motor vehicles. In California, despite the legality of recreational use, driver’s who are impaired due to the use of cannabis can face criminal charges. Similar to other pharmaceuticals, simply having a prescription for a substance does not permit driving while under the influence of the substance.
Generally, there are two type of DUIs depending on the particulars of your case, either ‘per se’ DUIs or Impairment DUIs. In ‘per se’ DUIs, prosecutors usually try to produce blood tests results to show the driver was beyond the legal limit of alcohol in his or her system. It does not matter if the person’s ability to drive was unaffected by the marijuana–it is only a question of the amount of THC in the drier’s system.
Impairment DUIs, however, are defined differently state by state and can include impairment due to alcohol drugs, including marijuana. In some states, the proof in any way that the substance affected the driver is enough for a conviction. While in other states, the prosecution has a greater burden of proof to show “substantial” or “significant” effects of the substance consumed. Evidence for prosecutors in impairment DUIs typically comes from the arresting officer’s observations like the driver’s performance of a FST (field sobriety test), slurring of words, odd behavior or poor driving.
As one may notice, impairment DUIs convictions are much less scientific and rely on the personal accounts and perspectives of the arresting officer. If you need legal counsel regarding DUIs or more serious charges, don’t hesitate to contact Ferrentino & Associates today.