While it is currently legal in California to enjoy the pleasures of marijuana, there are still several ways in which law enforcement can use pot against you. Today’s narcotics and marijuana possession laws afford Californians little leeway to get high and drive. Let us look at how this drug may cause loss of license, an immediate arrest, and problems that will not go away.
The Current Law
In California, if you are pulled over for suspicious driving or are in an accident that you have caused, the police may have cause to test your blood for marijuana or alcohol. If they find your blood to be over the legal limit, which is 5 ngs (nanograms), or 5 billionths of a gram, of delta-9 THC per milliliter of blood, you can be charged with marijuana DUI. If someone else was seriously injured as a result of an accident, and you are found with more than 5 nanograms of delta-9 THC per milliliter of blood, then you can be charged with vehicular assault.
What if I Refuse a Blood Test?
The police can not coerce you to give up your blood. However, they can charge you under the law as if the test came back positive, which is why refusal should only be done under attorney guidance. Now, some clever folks may be wondering if the Fifth Amendment protects them against self-incrimination. The answer is no. The Fifth Amendment only protects against
incriminating yourself in testimony. It does not apply to DNA tests, blood tests, hair samples, or fingerprints. In other words, you can refuse a blood test, but the police (and very likely the judge) will consider refusal as evidence that you are, in fact, inebriated and are only withholding the evidence for the purpose of hiding that fact.
There is also the chance that the judge will consider this an affront to the execution of justice. They may decide to revoke your driver’s license as a result of your refusal.
Pot stays in your system for 30 days. The fact you smoked 10 days ago may be a defense to your charge. California authorities have developed a blood test to determine how much marijuana is in your system. It is true that marijuana will remain in a hair sample or urine after 30 days. The blood test is designed to determine how much marijuana is in your system at the time the test is given.
Marijuana DUIs in California
To be clear, California treats marijuana the same way it does any intoxicant. Those who are caught driving under the influence are subject to the same penalties as an individual driving under the influence of alcohol. That can include felony charges when an individual has been caught driving under the influence more than twice. It includes felony charges when an individual injures another person while intoxicated.
If you have been charged with marijuana DUI, you will need an attorney who will advocate on your behalf – not just any counsel, but ones who have significant experience with marijuana possession law. You are facing serious charges; therefore, you need legal assistance that is equally serious.
Los Angeles criminal defense attorney James E. Blatt helps persons accused of marijuana DUI, with his first goal being dismissal of their case. Contact his office today to retain superior representation in all criminal defense cases.