Marijuana-Related DUI Charges In California
The following article will cover:
- California’s law on DUI charges related to marijuana use.
- Punishments and differences between DUI marijuana and alcohol cases.
- The impact of marijuana legalization in California on DUI laws, and law enforcement training for DUI marijuana investigation.
What Is The Current Law Regarding Marijuana In California? How Does That Translate Into A DUI Related To Marijuana Use?
In California, DUI marijuana charges can be filed under two statutes:
- Vehicle Code Section 23152(f): Driving under the influence of a drug.
- Vehicle Code Section 23152(g): Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs combined.
The conviction and offense count for DUI marijuana cases are the same as for alcohol. A DUI conviction must occur within 10 years of the most recent offense to be considered a prior. If there are three prior DUI convictions (alcohol or drugs) within 10 years, the fourth one is considered a felony.
The punishment for DUI marijuana is similar to that of DUI alcohol, with no significant differences. However, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) handles DUI marijuana cases differently. If an officer arrests a driver for DUI marijuana without a refusal, they are not supposed to take the driver’s license and submit it to the DMV for administrative suspension. In contrast, for DUI alcohol cases, the officer takes the license and submits it to the DMV for administrative suspension.
Nowadays, officers often issue a notice of re-examination and send it to the DMV when making arrests for DUI drugs, including marijuana. The DMV then initiates a re-examination procedure, which can be onerous for the driver. This process may involve interviews, medical documentation, psychological documentation, an eye exam, interviews with the DMV, and possibly taking another driver’s test to get the license back.
How Did The Legalization Of Marijuana In California Impact DUI Laws?
Since the legalization of marijuana in California, there has been a significant increase in DUI marijuana arrests and related accidents. The state also enacted Vehicle Code Section 23152(f) and (g) to specifically address driving under the influence of drugs or a combination of alcohol and drugs.
Did Law Enforcement Undergo Any Special Training To Investigate Marijuana DUIs In Southern California After Marijuana Became Legal?
Yes, law enforcement officers have undergone additional training for DUI marijuana investigation and enforcement due to the spike in cases since marijuana became legal. This training is more sophisticated and continues to evolve as officers encounter more DUI marijuana cases in California.
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