If I Use Marijuana On A Regular Basis, Will I Automatically Be Prosecuted And Convicted For Marijuana DUI In California?
Someone who uses marijuana on a regular basis will have more metabolites of marijuana in their system, which will result in a blood test which makes it look like the person has more active than inactive marijuana in their system. However, someone who smokes marijuana all the time isn’t necessarily more likely to be prosecuted for DUI. Rather, regular use of marijuana can be used as a defense to show that there is a reason for marijuana metabolites being present in the blood sample. We can bring in medical experts and forensic toxicologists who can testify as to why a habitual marijuana smoker may have a higher level of marijuana metabolites in their blood than someone who uses marijuana occasionally.
Can My Driver’s License Be Suspended For A Marijuana DUI Charge And Conviction?
Following a DUI arrest, the DMV will not immediately suspend the defendant’s driver’s license. Instead, we will request a hearing. They will typically drop the administrative action if a hearing is requested and there was no alcohol or less than 0.08 percent of alcohol in the defendant’s system. If convicted of being under the influence of marijuana, the combined influence of marijuana and alcohol, or the combined influence of marijuana and/or any other drug (including prescription drugs) then the defendant will be subject to a driver’s license suspension.
The other way a license suspension may occur is if the DMV takes an independent action against the defendant for the DUI. If the police report, prior convictions, or anything else suggests that the defendant is a habitual user and has established a repeat pattern suggesting they should not be driving, then they can require the defendant to attend a hearing and prove that they are not a danger and that they should be allowed to keep driving. To prove this, a number of drug test results over a long period of time, letters from doctors, and evidence of rehab efforts could be necessary; this could take years, during which time the license would be suspended.
I have seen this happen many times over the years. For example, if someone gets a drug DUI in Marin County, we may be able to get the charges thrown out or reduced, but the DMV might find something in the police report that prompts an examination to determine whether the individual is safe on the road.
The safest thing to do is avoid driving while experiencing any level of intoxication whatsoever. Since everyone is affected by marijuana differently and for varying lengths of time, there is not a specific number of hours a person should wait to drive after having used marijuana. If someone is stopped by officers and tells them they smoked earlier that day, the officers will ask them to consent to a test for marijuana. Even if the person was no longer impaired by the time they were driving, the results of the blood test showing the presence of marijuana could be enough to result in a conviction.
California is actually less restrictive than other states when it comes to marijuana-related DUI. Some states will charge a DUI anytime someone is found to have a certain level of marijuana in their system. Other states will charge a DUI if there is any trace of an illegal drug, marijuana, or even a prescription drug in someone’s system.
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