Although California has legalized marijuana for adults over 21 years of age, it is still illegal to drive while under the influence of the drug. DUI drugs, commonly abbreviated DUID, is treated as a regular DUI in California. A person can be arrested for being under the influence of legal, illicit, prescribed, or over-the-counter medication if it affects their ability to drive. Typically, any DUI charge is a misdemeanor in California. However, if the DUI involved an accident causing injury or death or if the driver has three previous DUI convictions, it can be charged as a felony. It can also be charged as a felony if the driver has a previous felony DUI conviction.
The Eastsider LA reports that officials are warning that there has been an increase in drug-related DUI cases.
On Wednesday, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey and Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer joined with law enforcement officials to send a warning to the public. During the holiday season, choosing to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs could lead to being arrested.
According to the city attorney, the number of cases of driving under the influence of drugs has risen 66% in just a couple of years. The district attorney noted that her office filed more than 12,000 DUI cases this year. The number of DUI cases that involved marijuana has nearly quadrupled since 2017, when recreational marijuana was legalized.
Los Angeles Police Chief Michael Moore added that there will be DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols that will be conducted to catch those who choose to drive while intoxicated.
More than 2,000 impaired drivers were arrested last year during the holiday season. 16 people were killed and more than 350 people were injured in DUI crashes.