California Marijuana And Driving Laws
At the beginning of this year, recreational marijuana was legalized all across California, meaning that a medical card is no longer necessary to purchase pot in the state. Now, we all know that driving under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or driving under the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and a drug, with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or greater, has been illegal for years in California, but what does the legalization of recreational marijuana add to the mix?
California Marijuana Laws
Under California’s new laws, marijuana cannot be smoked in vehicles. Either using pot or having an open container of marijuana in any form in a moving vehicle are both illegal. Driving a vehicle under the influence of marijuana is a crime, pursuant to the same California Vehicle Code Section as driving under the influence of alcohol. With the legality and now-widespread availability of marijuana, police officers are now going to concentrate on stopping drivers that are not only drunk but also stoned!
Proving Marijuana DUI
Proving DUI of marijuana is often a challenge for a prosecutor. This is because unlike alcohol, California law has provided no “legal limit” for marijuana mostly because a blood test to check for marijuana levels wouldn’t work the same as the blood test for alcohol levels. However, a motor vehicle operator is considered “under the influence” of marijuana when, as a consequence of consuming cannabis, his or her mental or physical abilities are so impaired that he or she is unable to drive a vehicle with the caution of a sober person under similar circumstances. A jury or judge are the ones who decide whether the prosecutor has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant drove under the influence of marijuana.
Consequences of Driving Stoned
The penalties for driving while stoned are still the same as driving while drunk. So are the financial consequences for driving under the influence, including the inability to recover non-financial damages (inconvenience, disfigurement, physical impairment, pain, suffering, and other non-monetary damages), if the injured person was under the influence at the time of the incident, therefore operating the vehicle in violation of California law..
In addition, driving a vehicle under the influence of marijuana may affect your insurance coverage and negate your coverage for damages caused to others as a result of being under the influence of marijuana. In short, even though recreational marijuana is now legal in California, operating a vehicle under the influence of marijuana in the Golden State carries the same penalties as operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. It’s simply not worth the risk!
California Car Accident Attorney
At Los Angeles Injury Group, our experienced attorneys have helped clients win cases against those who have suffered injuries in automobile accidents caused by those under the influence of alcohol or marijuana. We understand how life-altering these injuries can be, which is why we fight for our clients until they receive proper compensation. If you, or someone you love, received injuries as a result of a vehicle accident due to DUI, call (424) 625-7824.