Call Now 323-464-6700 for a Free Consultation

The Problem with a Marijuana DUI Charge in California

Around the country legalizing marijuana for recreational use has been hotly debated. In fact, the sates of Colorado and Washington have legalized or are planning to legalize marijuana. There are more states following their lead. It is a path the entire country may travel in the near future. Throughout the US, especially California, majority of voters are in favor of making marijuana legal. However, one of the most pressing issues with marijuana legalization is the potential effect that is has on driving abilities.


Driving under the influence of marijuana is an issue for any state thinking about legalizing the drug. Marijuana DUI is something that happens frequently. Californians currently have access to legal, or medical marijuana, and also to illegal marijuana. Despite the availability of marijuana in the state, law enforcement and prosecutors still have problems when charging drivers with Marijuana DUI.

Driving While Under the Influence of Drugs

According to California law, driving under the influence of marijuana is unlawful and has the same penalties as alcohol-related DUI. Generally speaking, being considered "under the influence" of marijuana is defined by state law as the consumption of substances that impairs a person’s driving ability. In other words, the driver who consumed a substance cannot drive with the same caution as a sober individual under similar or same circumstances. Although the definition relates to marijuana, it is not as clearly defined as alcohol intoxication. Consider the following questions:

  • How can law enforcement test for impairment?
  • However can law enforcement determine that a driver is high while driving or behind the wheel?

Law enforcement agencies across the country are struggling with how to answer the questions above and many others similar to them. One of the largest problems with marijuana DUI is that no definitive test exists to accurately determine whether a driver is too “high” to drive. Unfortunately for law enforcement agencies, the road side breath tests that are used to determine alcohol intoxication are not an option for marijuana DUIs. So police must become drug recognition experts when it comes to determine drug intoxication levels in drivers. Still, visual cues are not as effective in determining how impaired a driver is during at a traffic stop.

Another problem with a marijuana DUI involves the frequency of use. Typically, individuals who use marijuana frequently have higher tolerances. This means that they may not be impaired at the level California considers an intoxicated level.

Building a Marijuana DUI Defense

California and other states continue to find ways to properly enforce marijuana DUI laws, but one fact remains. Drivers are still being arrested, tried and convicted for driving under the influence of marijuana. Yet, there is no accurate test to determine drug intoxication level.

Given this glaring fact, anyone accused of marijuana DUI should be focused on hiring and working with a lawyer. An experienced DUI defense lawyer will protect the client’s freedom and future by evaluating the circumstances surrounding the arrest and aggressively defending them in Court.

If you or someone you know has been charged with marijuana DUI, contact the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin. We are committed to evaluating the circumstances surrounding your arrest and building a strong defense for you. We not only represent clients facing marijuana DUI charges, but all types of DUI charges, as well. Contact the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin to schedule a free consultation today.

Board of Governors,

America's Top-Ranked Law School For Trial Advocacy

Stetson University DUI Program

Contact Information

Jonathan Franklin DUI Attorney
6777 Hollywood Blvd Ste 508
Los Angeles, CA 90028