DUI involving marijuana: The unique scientific and legal challenges of marijuana DUI cases.
DUI involving marijuana, in the state of California, has been made a criminal act under the California Vehicle Code. CVC 23152 has been amended in recent years to criminalize the act of driving a car under the influence of drugs, or under the influence of drugs and alcohol in a combination. The legal challenges associated with DUI involving marijuana stem from understanding exactly which types of conduct are in fact illegal and which are not.
These challenges extend to understanding (and finding a valid defense) the extent to which law enforcement can and cannot conduct drug DUI or DUI involving marijuana investigations, privacy rights and the proper role of blood testing in these cases and understanding the legal arguments that can keep this evidence from ever seeing the inside of a court room.
Scientific Issues in DUI involving marijuana cases: The science of marijuana DUI impairment.
The scientific challenges associated with defending DUI involving marijuana cases come from two different areas: Analyzing how marijuana effected this particular driver and understanding the basics of attacking blood testing and the “science” (which is mostly bunk science) in marijuana cases.
Individuals drivers and individual responses to marijuana:
When defending a DUI case from prosecution, a defense lawyer understands that the important issue is whether this particular driver was impaired, not some other driver, or subjects in a random scientific study (or even worse, the “average” driver, whatever that means.) Because of this important fact, a defense can be built by simply pointing out the differences between the driver facing criminal prosecution and the “average” driver or person that marijuana studies are based on.
-What level of THC is needed to make this particular driver impaired?
-How does THC effect this particular driver, not the “average” person
-How much THC was actually in this person’s system?
General Attacks on Marijuana Impairment when defending DUI cases:
Defenses that attack the “generalities” of marijuana impairment don’t focus on the individual driver, but rather focus on the lack of scientific consensus regarding how marijuana effects people in general. Generalized Marijuana DUI defenses will also attack:
-The scientific admissibility of evidence in court if the DUI case goes to trial
-The foundational requirements that are needed to legally establish the evidence
-Issues related to the accuracy, veracity and authentication of the proffered evidence that is sought to be introduced into evidence
DUI involving marijuana reference links:
Marijuana and how it effects the human body: An analysis of the harmful effects of marijuana by the National Institutes of Health.
Marijuana and Driving: Studying the harmful effects of marijuana and other drugs on safe driving