California Marijuana Users Unsure of DUI Laws
What’s the marijuana equivalent of the 0.08% Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit for alcohol DUIs? If you don’t know the answer, you’re not alone. The truth is that there isn’t one—and if a law enforcement officer determines that you’re driving under the influence of marijuana, it could be a big problem for you.
Uncertain laws creating uncertain citizens
The Sacramento Bee reports on a recent survey of cannabis users that found that 46 percent of those surveyed did not know the answer the above question. In the same survey, 62 percent didn’t know what the penalties are for a marijuana DUI. Impaired drivers face the same penalties for a DUI for marijuana as the do for drinking: fines, a suspended license, and even jail time.
So why all the uncertainty? In part, the survey respondents can’t really be blamed for thier lack of knowledge, as California law enforcement is still figuring out how to test for marijuana DUIs. Blood tests can produce positive results for THC—the active ingredient in marijuana—long after it has stopped affecting users, and there is no marijuana equivalent of a breathalyzer. A new bill in California aims to fund research to assess how best to determine marijuana DUIs for this very reason.
Ambiguous laws don’t equal innocence
If you find yourself charged with a marijuana-related DUI, a lack of knowledge about the laws won’t do you much good. Instead, you need to talk to a criminal defense attorney like Brian A. Newman as soon as possible. Your attorney will look at all the evidence against you and how it was gathered. As law enforcement figures out how to test for marijuana intoxication, there will invariably be overreaches, impropriety, and faulty test results. An experienced criminal defense attorney is the best way to ensure that your rights are protected, regardless of any ambiguities in the laws as they are written.