Consequences of a Marijuana DUI in California:
Marinjana DUI’s in California have different consequences than alcohol related DUIs. A marijuana DUI does not involve a DMV APS suspesnion of a driver’s license, but a criminal court case and possible court license suspension can result from a marinjuana DUI.
A misdemenaor or felony criminal record, large fines, jail time, court imposed driver’s license restrictions and other penalties are all possible if a person is convicted of marijuana DUI in California.
Why doesn’t the DMV suspend a driver’s license in a marijuana DUI?
The California DMV is not statutorily authorized to suspend a driver’s license unless the driver either 1. Refuses a chemical test or 2. is shown to have a blood alcohol leve at or above 0.08% at the time of driving. In marijuana cases where the driver submits to a blood test, if their blood alcohol level is below 0.08%, the DMV will not suspend the driver’s license in a normal DUI APS suspension. The driver still faces court mandated driver’s license restrictions however, if they are convicted of marijuana DUI.
Court consequences of a Marijuana DUI:
California’s Vehicle Code 23152 has prohibited marijuana and drug impaired driving since its recent 2014 amendments. Historically, the vehicle code had two sections related to DUI: CVC 23152 a and b. CVC 23152a prohibited “driving while impaired” while CVC 23152b prohibited driving with a blood alcohol level at or above 0.08%. The California legislature, recognizing the increasing number of drug related DUI’s, enacted several new sub sections of 23152.
CVC 23152(e) prohibits driving while under the influence of any drug, including marijuana.
CVC 23152(f) prohibits driving while under the “combined effects of drugs and alcohol.
Important differences between alcohol DUI and marijuana DUI
Aside from the differen treatment at DMV, marijuana DUI cases in California do not involve a “per se” limit such as the 0.08% limit that most people are familiar with in alcohol related DUI’s.
The reason for this is simple: the science of marijuana and drug impairment and how they relate to driving has not been developed to the level that law makers feel comfortable making a “per-se” limit. This works well for defense attorneys who defend marijuana cases: there is no legal limit to attack in court.