Under California law, driving under the influence of marijuana can lead to penalties similar to those for driving under the influence of alcohol. A conviction can lead to fines, probation, jail time and a driver’s license suspension. This can lead many to wonder how the authorities determine whether a driver was impaired by marijuana use.
The challenges of marijuana drug testing
Despite recent attempts to create a marijuana breathalyzer, as CNN notes it is difficult to accurately determine a person’s level of impairment based on testing. Blood and urine tests may also be inaccurate, because the chemical components of marijuana can remain in the body for days, weeks or even a month after use. As a result, a person could test positive for marijuana use long after they actually used the drug.
Without accurate testing, California law does not outline a specific limit for marijuana levels. California Vehicle Code 23152(f) instead forbids driving under the influence of any drug, including marijuana. As a result, charges often depend on an officer’s subjective view and on field sobriety tests to determine whether someone’s ability to drive had been impacted by cannabis. These tests are not necessarily accurate and can be influenced by a person’s stress alongside a wide variety of other factors.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence of marijuana, speaking to an experienced attorney is an important step toward building your defense. They can examine the particulars of your case and build a defense that protects your rights, your freedom and your future.