The Legalization of Marijuana Will Cause an Increase of Marijuana DUIs
With the legalization of marijuana on January 1st, 2018, increases in the number of marijuana DUIs that result from smoking marijuana are set to rise exponentially. While it has always been, and still remains, illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana, there is still no concrete method that the state of California has sponsored to determine THC levels of a suspected driver. Bearing that in mind, the Los Angeles Times states that authorities in the Southern California area have announced plans to test cannabis breathalyzers and mouth swab tests on drivers under the influence.
In the state of Colorado where marijuana is legalized, 55% of marijuana users said they believed it was safe to drive while under the influence. While there are clear impairments that distinguish driving under the influence of alcohol from that of marijuana, it is still illegal to drive after having indulged marijuana in one’s system. Also in Colorado, the number of drivers who tested positive for marijuana use rose 145%, from 47 drivers testing positive in 2013, to 115 drivers in 2016. In addition, the percentage of all marijuana DUI fatalities in a car crash involving a driver under the influence of marijuana increased in Colorado from 10% in 2013, to 20% in 2016. Therefore, it is evident that more people are being pulled over and killed for driving under the influence of marijuana in Colorado since it’s legalization, and with a significantly larger population in California, the same trends should be expected on a much bigger scale as well.
Marijuana DUIs – California vs. Colorado
In California, unlike Colorado, there is no legal limit of THC that determines if a person is under the influence of marijuana. Marijuana DUIs are expected to increase even though there is not legal limit for purposes of driving. Traffic stops are heavily dependent upon officer observation and eventual testimony of the suspected driver. Statewide, approximately 1,700 drug recognition evaluators work for the CHP and local agencies. Furthermore, CHP officials have stated they have stepped up impairment training for officers after the passage of Proposition 64 which legalized marijuana originally. Being arrested while driving under the influence of marijuana can either be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony and can stick one’s record for an extensive period of time. As a first offense, the sentencing that can result from a DUI could include fines of up to $1,000, a suspension of one’s drivers license, county jail time of up to 6 months, and a possible probation period. Bearing this in mind, it is evident that being charged with a DUI is something that should not be taken lightly and needs to be addressed right away. Luckily, a DUI is something that is absolutely defensible and should be brought immediately to the attention of defense attorney Karren Kenney.
Ms. Kenney has been working for over 20 years as a criminal defense attorney and has handled numerous DUI cases resulting in dismissals. Ms. Kenney works with the courts and against prosecutors to ultimately earn you the best possible outcome in your case! If you or know someone who has been involved in a DUI case, contact Karren Kenney at (855) 505-5588 to start defending your rights today!