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Facts About Driving and Marijuana in California

Facts About Driving and Marijuana in CaliforniaDo not mix driving and marijuana in California. Although state law allows for the possession of medical marijuana in quantities of 8 oz. or less, upon a doctor’s recommendation and the issuance of a medical-marijuana ID card, it does not allow medical marijuana patients or non-patients to drive under the influence of marijuana.

Thus, driving under the influence of marijuana is a crime just like any other form of drugged driving. If it can be shown that the use of marijuana impaired a driver’s mental and/or physical faculties, he can be convicted of a DWI. Furthermore, the possession, transport, or sale of marijuana, THC, or any synthetic equivalents is prohibited under Health and Safety Code Section 11054.

Penalties for a Marijuana DUI

A marijuana DUI conviction is always a serious blot on one’s record and carries with it significant consequences. However, how the crime is punished varies as follows:

  • First-time offenders can be sentenced to between 96 hours and 6 months in county jail, a fine of from $390 to $1,000 plus penalty assessments, a loss of driving privileges for 6 months, and mandatory use of an ignition interlock device (IID).
  • A second offense can lead to 90 days to 12 months in jail, a two-year driver’s license suspension, and the same fine and IID requirements as for a first offense.
  • A third offense is punishable by 120 days to 12 months in jail, designation as a “habitual traffic offender,” which can lead to extra probation and drug abuse education requirements, and the same fine and IID sentencing as noted above.
  • Conviction within 10 years of certain felonies can result in a year in jail, license suspension, IID requirements, the $390 to $1,000 fine, and habitual traffic offender status.

In most cases, the judge will also assign mandatory DUI classes. He/she may allow probation to take the place of jail time. Having a knowledgeable DUI defense attorney fighting in your corner is key to obtaining these kinds of sentencing reductions or to get the charges reduced, or even dismissed.

Penalties for Possession/Use of Marijuana

While marijuana possession is one of the least-serious violations, it is still important to know the facts about the law.

The punishments for marijuana possession can vary, according to the amount possessed, the type possessed, and the location it was possessed in:

  • Possession of less than 28.5 g of marijuana is only an infraction and is only punished by a maximum fine of $100.
  • Possession of more than 28.5 g is punishable by a $500 fine, 6 months’ jail time, or both.
  • Possession of concentrated cannabis, in any amount, is punished by a fine of up to $500, up to 12 months’ jail time, or both.
  • Possession of marijuana on school grounds, and during school operating hours, is a misdemeanor offense that is punishable by a $500 fine, up to 10 days in county jail, or both.

Marijuana Defense Representation

If you have been arrested in California on charges of driving under the influence of marijuana and/or illegal possession of marijuana, there are significant consequences to a conviction. A good defense attorney, however, will be able to navigate the numerous complex details of California’s marijuana laws and apply them as beneficially as possible to your case.

The prosecution has to prove that the drug impaired your ability to drive. The presence of marijuana in your system does not mean you were affected at the time of driving.

Call Los Angeles DUI attorney Jon Artz today at 310-820-1315.

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