Driving under influence or impaired driving is a serious offense as per the Criminal Code in the state of California. Impairment caused by alcohol, drugs and any other kind of substance abuse can lead to immediate arrest if relevant test results are positive and the charges draw severe punishments. Driving under the influence of marijuana is a criminal offense, even though it is legal to use cannabis for recreational and medicinal purposes. A clear distinction is drawn between recreational or medicinal use and being intoxicated due to marijuana.
Relevant Laws for Driving Under Influence of Marijuana in San Francisco, California
The same DUI law applicable for alcohol and drugs is relevant for driving under influence of marijuana in San Francisco, California. The same California Vehicle Code covers marijuana, just as it covers influence of alcohol, over the counter medicines and prescription drugs. There is no exception to prescribed medication as most drugs that can cause impairment come with warnings. Likewise, medicinal or recreational use of marijuana leading to intoxication and hence impaired driving is illegal in the state.
There is one major difference in how the DUI laws are implemented in case of driving under influence of marijuana. There is a distinct blood alcohol concentration level that determines if a person at the wheel is impaired and cannot as well as should not drive. Blood and urine tests for drugs and prescription medicines can also substantially establish if a person is impaired. It is not as simple or forthright in case of marijuana. This leaves scope for effective safeguarding against the implementation of the law and being finally held guilty to have the severe punishments meted out in the verdict.
Regardless of the variations in how the law is implemented in marijuana cases, you should appoint a DUI lawyer in San Francisco as soon as you can to start preparing your defense. Without a proper marijuana DUI defense, you can end up with a conviction and a harsh sentence, a criminal record and suspended license. There are steep fines and other penalties.
There is no specific device that can be used to test for traces of marijuana on the spot. A breathalyzer is used to check for blood alcohol concentration. Blood and urine tests are used for both alcohol and various types of drugs. Due to the lack of such tests available right now that can lead to an immediate assessment of whether or not a driver has consumed marijuana to an extent of being intoxicated, the law enforcement relies on physical examination. Sobriety test and other checks on the street or at the checkpoint are common. There may be an approved testing device in the near future for more effective testing and admissible evidence in a court.
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Typical Signs that Trigger a Marijuana DUI Suspicion in San Francisco, California
There are subtle and telltale signs that trigger the suspicion of cops on the streets of San Francisco. Drivers who are too slow or erratic on the road draw attention. Reckless and negligent driving are usual red flags. Drivers with bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, delayed response to questions, limited motor skills and other signs of impairment also draw suspicion and subsequent examination. The odor of marijuana in the vehicle or on the person serves as a trigger. No matter what the trigger is, if a driver fails the field tests then the police can demand blood tests. If the tests find considerable traces of tetrahydrocannabinol, then a driver will be rightly charged with marijuana DUI in San Francisco.
Driving under the influence of cannabis in San Francisco is mostly proven through failing the standard field sobriety test. Breathalyzers cannot detect various substances in cannabis whose traces remain in the blood for many hours, in some cases longer than a day. Despite the limitations of how marijuana can be detected and the circumstantial field sobriety tests, a DUI in San Francisco remains a serious crime and the criminal offense draws stringent punishments. A typical punishment may include hefty fine, jail time, a criminal record, license suspension, rehab, community service and more penalties if anyone was injured or any property was damaged.
There is no specific limit of traces of active chemicals found in marijuana for the law enforcement to use as the benchmark to prove impairment. The sobriety tests and other physical conditions are used as the evidence. This provides more scope for errors on the part of the law enforcement but it also makes a case for a solid marijuana DUI defense in San Francisco. You need an expert trial lawyer who can argue your case and counter the prosecution. Failing to do so will draw up to a thousand dollars in fine, license suspension for up to six months, jail time for several months, summary probation for up to five years and perhaps rehab or other programs. Second and third offenses draw harsher sentences.
There are many ways to approach a marijuana DUI defense in San Francisco. The same strategy will not work for everyone and in every case. There are always variables in most cases that make the circumstances slightly different or completely unique. Only the best DUI lawyers in San Francisco can come up with a failsafe defense against charges of driving under the influence of marijuana.
Defending Driving and Cannabis Charges in San Francisco, CA
The laws governing DUI offenses in California and San Francisco are some of the strictest in the entire country. There is a strict policy governing DUI offenses in San Francisco, California. Driving and cannabis usage is considered a criminal offense under DUI laws with penalties and punishments such as up to six months in jail, up to five years of summary probation, a fine that may go up to $1000 and suspension of driver’s license for a period of six months. These punishments are for first time marijuana DUI offenders and the penalties are even higher for second, third and subsequent offense.
Defending a cannabis DUI offense may take a different approach than that of an alcohol related DUI offense. Your lawyer will have to build up a defense identifying the flaws on the charge against you which could include pointing out technical mistakes made by the police officials. Apart from this your attorney will have to take defenses like you were not driving, you didn’t use marijuana, you used marijuana but were no longer under its influence and will have to prove to the court that your mental and physical abilities weren’t significantly impaired. This is why it becomes necessary for you to hire a relentless San Francisco DUI lawyer to guarantee that you receive efficient representation in the court of law. We will assess your case and put our best foot forward to defend you in court and protect you against any penalties relating to the impaired driving offense.
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