OC DUI Marijuana Defense Lawyers
In California, it is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana despite several scientific studies doubting whether marijuana impairs your driving ability at all. Were you caught with marijuana while driving? Do you need to beat a DUI pot charge? Our Orange County marijuana defense attorneys at Law Office of Michael L. Guisti can work to get your charges reduced and possibly dismissed, along with keeping your driving record clean. For more information, call us at (714) 530-9690.
Proving that you're driving under the influence marijuana is challenging for the district attorney. The primary ingredient in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly known as "THC," which lingers in the body long after the effects of pot wear off. According to scientific pot studies, the life span of THC ranges from a few short hours to even several months. Thus, it makes it difficult for the Orange County District Attorney to prove you were under the influence of pot at the time you were driving.
To be convicted of marijuana DUI, you must be impaired to such a degree that you no longer have the
"…ability to drive with the caution characteristic of a sober person of ordinary prudence under the same or similar circumstances…"
In order to prove that you were DUI marijuana, the district attorney typically relies on the following:
- Your driving pattern
- Your physical appearance
- Your performance on field sobriety tests
- Chemical test revealing marijuana in your bloodstream
Furthermore, the arresting officer will testify about all of the reasons they believed that you were under the influence of marijuana, which will include personal testimony. Again, Law Office of Michael L. Guisti know these factors are highly flawed. We can introduce evidence that your blood and/or urine test revealed marijuana in your system, which the prosecutor argues corroborates the officer's observations. Yet again, even if pot showed up in your blood or urine test, it does not mean you were DUI.
You have plenty of defenses that could undermine the prosecution's case against you. The most important defense is that marijuana's effect on driving is relatively insignificant—meaning marijuana use does not render you "unable to drive with the caution characteristic of a sober person."
Since any pot you smoked did not render your driving abilities, the district attorney does not have a case against you. Such as with DUI alcohol, there is no foolproof test to determine when you used marijuana. While THC's effects last only a few hours, the THC itself can remain in your body for days, weeks, or even months. As such, it is virtually impossible for police to detect when you actually used marijuana as chemical tests can only detect that marijuana was used at some point—not when it was used.
Furthermore, chemical tests cannot determine how much marijuana you used as blood or urine tests do not typically test for quantity—but rather presence. As a result, drug tests are often meaningless. Subsequently, a blood or urine test that reveals marijuana's presence is actually irrelevant to whether you were driving under its influence. Even if there was some kind of test for quantity, pot DUI law has no "per se" violation like the BAC 0.08% standard used to prosecute an alcohol-related DUI. Also, similar to defending a DUI alcohol case, there is no clear correlation between the amount of marijuana in your system and your level of intoxication as numerous factors affect a person's sensitivity to marijuana.
Punishment for DUI marijuana varies, depending on the facts of your case, and your criminal history, with the Orange County District Attorney putting particular emphasis on past drug and/or alcohol offenses. For first time DUI marijuana offenders, they will likely face 3 to 5 years of informal probation, up to 1 year in jail, a maximum $1,000 fine, court-approved DUI school, and a 6-month license suspension.
Having been accused of DUI marijuana may seem intimidating, but an experienced Orange County DUID lawyer from Law Office of Michael L. Guisti can thoroughly investigate the officer's actions and show the judge and jury that the marijuana could not and didn't affect your ability to drive, which could lead to lesser charges or even your case being dismissed. We understand you may be a little scared, but rest assured that we are here to represent your best interests and provide you with aggressive defense.
Whether you're facing a felony or a misdemeanor, don't risk a conviction. Act quickly to redeem your reputation and protect your record by consulting with our Orange County criminal defense lawyer. Call today to schedule your free consultation.