Recreational marijuana is legal in California, but driving stoned can land you in trouble. If a traffic cop catches you DUI in Orange County, California, a Santa Ana traffic ticket lawyer may be required to keep your driving privileges.
Marijuana Sobriety Tests
There’s no definitive way to measure marijuana consumption in the same manner as a test for a driver’s blood alcohol content. The arresting officers make a visual determination of how intoxicated a marijuana user may be when a vehicle is pulled over. Depending on the circumstances, an officer may decide to conduct a 12-step exam to determine the intoxication level. You may be asked cognition questions, your saliva tested for THC and your blood pressure or pulse checked. The results can be used to charge you with a marijuana DUI offense.
Marijuana Offenses and Penalties
A DUI offense involving marijuana is generally considered a misdemeanor if nobody was injured. You may be able to fight traffic ticket issues stemming from a marijuana DUI. This could enable you to avoid spending time in jail, which is a typical penalty. First-time offenses may bring up to six months in jail and as much as a $1,000 fine. There’s also suspension of your driver’s license for up to ten months and a court-ordered attendance at a traffic school. The jail sentence, fines and penalties can be more severe for second and third offenses.
A fourth marijuana DUI could result in a felony conviction, which brings a 16-month prison sentence, larger fines and mandatory substance abuse treatment. Additional felony charges can be filed if anyone was seriously harmed or killed, even when it’s a first-time offense.
If you’re found with more than one ounce of marijuana or its derivatives, it can bring serious criminal charges. Intent to distribute could bring a hefty prison sentence based on California law; only licensed dispensaries are permitted to sell marijuana products.
There may be too much at stake to not look for what the best traffic ticket lawyer Los Angeles has to offer. Connect with an attorney who’s well-versed in California’s marijuana laws and who you can count on for an aggressive defense.