While it is now legal for adults over the age of 21 to smoke marijuana, thanks to 2016’s Proposition 64, individuals are not allowed to be under the influence of marijuana while driving. Any motorist found driving while high can face the same penalties individuals face when driving under the influence of alcohol.
While there isn’t a breathalyzer-equivalent for marijuana, cops can still tell if you are driving while high. Rather than relying on a single point of data, cops will instead rely on several pieces of evidence to determine if you are sober. Driving erratically, having marijuana smoke coming out of your car, and being unable to perform field sobriety tests can suggest that you were driving under the influence of marijuana.
Call (310) 896-2724 today if you’ve been arrested for a marijuana-related DUI. We can help you schedule a free consultation to discuss the unique facts of your case with a skilled DUI attorney in Los Angeles. It is important to act quickly, as building the strongest defense possible against your DUI charges can take time.
What Cops Can Do to Tell if You Are High While Driving
When a cop pulls you over, they must have some solid reason to stop your vehicle. When it comes to individuals who were high while driving, that can mean that the officer is already building a case against you before ever initiating the stop. In order to determine if you were driving while high, an officer will consider:
- How you were driving – While many people under the influence of marijuana while driving can drive slower than most traffic, and erratic driving behavior will be noted by the officer.
- Physical evidence – An officer approaching a vehicle of someone he or she suspects of DUI with marijuana will be looking for physical signs of recent consumption. This may come in the form of a strong smell coming from your car, visible smoke in the car, bloodshot eyes, or even possession of marijuana.
- How you act – Your behavior during the stop will be a strong indicator if you were high. Officers will note if you have trouble answering questions when asked or if you struggle to follow their commands. This latter part can be tested through field sobriety tests.
A cop who suspects you are high while driving can arrest you on a DUI charge.
Chemical Tests Are Not Reliable for Determining Impairment
When you get arrested under suspicion of being high while driving, the arresting officer is likely to have a chemical test performed on you. However, the blood or urine test may not be good evidence that you were impaired. Marijuana typically impairs people for one to three hours after consumption but can still be found in your system weeks later. Of course, this doesn’t mean your chemical test results are useless in court.
Defending Yourself Against a DUI Charge for Being High While Driving
Like alcohol-related DUIs, prosecutors can be aggressive in seeking convictions against individuals for marijuana-related DUI. All the evidence the cops gathered during your arrest, including the chemical test results, will be used against you. Taken as a whole, this evidence can be very convincing to a jury.
However, no DUI case is necessarily unbeatable. Even though cops are highly trained to detect if an individual is high while driving, mistakes can be made. A good DUI attorney will know how to properly attack the evidence to get you the best chance at avoiding a marijuana-related DUI conviction.
A marijuana-related DUI defense may start by attacking the results of your chemical test. The THC found in your blood or urine can linger at high levels long after you’ve stopped feeling any impairment. Likewise, chemical tests can show incorrect levels because of mistakes by the technicians handling the samples.
Your defense may also include calling into question how the evidence was gathered more broadly. Cops require probable cause before initiating an arrest. If the cop can’t accurately attest to the facts leading him or her to have probable cause, the evidence gathered might be excluded from the case.
Call Us if You Were Arrested for Driving While High
Beating a DUI charge can be difficult if you don’t have the expertise to properly challenge the prosecution’s case. Failing to beat the charge could mean thousands of dollars in fines and fees, a suspended license for six months or more, and even jail time.
If you’d like to speak with a DUI lawyer about your case for free, call (310) 896-2724 or enter your contact information into the forms on this site. We’ll help you schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled DUI lawyers who can help you build the strongest defense possible for your DUI charge.