What is the Legal Limit for Driving High in California?

legal limit for driving high

Heading out on the road after consuming marijuana in California? Think again! Driving high in California is a risky choice. As weed becomes more widely legalized, understanding the rules and ensuring road safety is crucial.

While there’s no specific legal limit for marijuana like there is for alcohol, driving while intoxicated, regardless of the substance, is against the law.

In this blog, our DUI lawyers explore the serious implications of driving under the influence of marijuana in California. Whether you’re a regular cannabis user or someone just curious, it’s essential to be informed about the legal consequences, procedures, and how to get help if you’re charged with a DUI in the Golden State.

Stay tuned for valuable insights, or contact us today for help with your case.

California DUI and Drugged Driving Laws

In California, DUI (Driving Under the Influence) laws encompass both alcohol and drug impairment. It is essential to recognize that driving while impaired by any substance poses a significant risk to public safety. The state takes a firm stance against drugged driving to protect its residents and visitors.

The penalties for DUI offenses involving drugs, including marijuana, are severe. A DUI conviction can lead to a tarnished driving record, higher insurance premiums, and potential difficulties in securing employment.

DUI Penalties in California

Driving under the influence of drugs, including marijuana, is not taken lightly in California. The state’s laws are designed to deter individuals from making irresponsible choices that endanger lives on the road.

When someone is caught driving while high on drugs, they can expect severe penalties. The legal consequences can be similar to those for alcohol-related DUI offenses.

  • First-offense DUI — Punishable by up to six months in jail
  • Second-offense DUI — Punishable by up to 96 hours to 1 year in jail
  • Third-offense DUI — Punishable by up to 120 days to 1 year in jail
  • Felony DUI — Punishable by up to 16 months, two years, or three years in prison

Repeat offenders or those involved in accidents while impaired may face more severe penalties, and the likelihood of facing felony charges increases.

The Legal Limit for Driving High in California

Unlike alcohol, there is no specific legal limit for drugs in California. This means that any presence of drugs in a driver’s system can lead to legal consequences, regardless of the quantity or level of impairment.

California’s approach to drugged driving involves a zero-tolerance policy. Law enforcement officers are trained to identify signs of drug impairment during traffic stops. If a driver is suspected of being under the influence of drugs, they may be subjected to various sobriety tests to assess their physical and cognitive abilities.

How Can Police Tell If You’re Driving High?

Identifying drug impairment in drivers is a challenging task for law enforcement officers. Unlike alcohol, which has well-defined BAC limits, drugs can affect individuals differently, and their effects can vary based on factors such as tolerance, metabolism, and the type of drug consumed.

If you’ve been pulled over for a DUI, officers may conduct field sobriety tests designed to assess a driver’s physical coordination and cognitive abilities. These tests can include the Walk-and-Turn test, One-Leg Stand test, and Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, among others. In cases where drug impairment is suspected, law enforcement may request blood or urine testing to determine the presence of drugs.

As a driver in California, you are subject to implied consent laws, meaning if you are arrested on suspicion of a DUI, you have already “pre-consented” to undergo chemical testing. Refusal of chemical testing could result in further penalties.

What are Some Possible Defenses to Drugged Driving?

When facing charges of drugged driving, it’s essential to understand that there may be potential defenses available to challenge the accusations.

While these defenses can vary based on individual circumstances, here are some common arguments that can be used:

  • Inaccurate Testing: The reliability of drug tests used to detect impairment can be contested. Factors such as faulty equipment, improper testing procedures, or mishandling of samples may lead to inaccurate results.
  • Rising Blood Drug Levels: Unlike alcohol, drugs can take time to reach their peak effect in the bloodstream. Your lawyer may argue that your drug levels were rising at the time of testing, indicating that they were not impaired while operating the vehicle.
  • No Actual Impairment: Prosecutors must demonstrate that the driver’s abilities were impaired by the drugs. If the defense can prove that the driver’s actions were not affected, it might lead to a weakened case.
  • Violation of Rights: In some cases, law enforcement officers may have violated your constitutional rights during the traffic stop or testing process. When this happens, your attorney can argue for the exclusion of certain evidence or even the dismissal of the case.

If you find yourself facing drugged driving charges, it’s crucial to consult with an experienced attorney who can assess your situation and determine the most appropriate defense strategy.

Contact Kolacia Law for DUI Defense Today

If you or someone you know is facing DUI charges related to drug impairment, it is crucial to seek professional legal assistance. Navigating California’s drugged driving laws requires a solid strategy and experience in DUI defense.

Our defense attorneys at Kolacia Law focus on DUI defense and can provide legal representation to protect your rights and interests. We understand the nuisances of California’s DUI laws and will work tirelessly to build a strong defense against the charges you are facing.

Contact us today for a consultation.

Author Bio

Daniel Kolacia is the CEO and Managing Partner of Kolacia Law Firm, a Rancho Cucamonga, CA, criminal defense law firm. As a former prosecutor with more than 15 years of experience in criminal defense, he is knowledgeable about both sides of the courtroom, an advantage he uses to help defend his clients. He has zealously represented clients in various legal matters, including white-collar crimes, misdemeanors, felonies, traffic cases, and other criminal charges.

Daniel received his Juris Doctor from the Southwestern University School of Law and is a member of the California Bar Association. He has received numerous accolades for his work and has worked on several high-profile cases featured on Dateline, CNBC, Los Angeles Times, and various local publications.

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