MacGregor & Collins, lLP Press New Federal Push Advocates Zero Tolerance for Stoned Driving

New Federal Push Advocates Zero Tolerance for Stoned Driving

By MacGregor & Collins, LLP March 24, 2013

Current laws for Marijuana advocate the theory that marijuana can indeed cause impairment while driving. At the present time, California laws hold that all residents as well as out-of-state drivers are prohibited from using marijuana while driving – even with a prescription. In addition, it's illegal to possess, cultivate, transport or distribute marijuana – unless these are for medical reasons and there's a certified approval from a licensed doctor.

California Senate Bill 289 is being pursued by Senator Correa, who is slated to stand before the State Senate Safety Committee on April 23rd, 2013. The new bill, if approved, will grant medical marijuana patients the right to drive legally when under the influence of marijuana as well as prescription medicines – with proof of an MD's orders.

The main issue that many residents currently have with legal code 23152 is the fact that medical marijuana is scientifically proven to stay in the body for up to one month. The repercussions would include that a person who drives weeks after marijuana use could still end up with a Marijuana DUI – even if he or she never used the substance at the time of operating a vehicle.

When it comes to making laws, it's usually a matter of public safety. Here's the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) take on the effects of Marijuana, as well as its possible effects while driving:

The short-term cause and effect of marijuana use is reported to be memory loss, issues with solving problems, a low attention span, lowered hand-eye coordination and more. The main timeframe for these effects to kick in is during the first two hours of marijuana use according to the report.

In terms of the drug's driving effects, the reaction time of a driver that has used marijuana within the first three hours is prolonged. In addition, the perception of time and distance is distorted according to the findings from past marijuana DUI arrests – gathered by the same NHSTA. Marijuana when mixed with alcohol is further said to affect the body negatively when driving.

Legal Codes for Marijuana DUI

Driving under the influence of marijuana is criminalized in California and is penalized by up to one year's sentence in jail, up to one thousand in fines and up to five years' probation. The sentencing is the same as DUI involving alcohol – that may also carry driver's license suspension orders plus participation in a court-approved DUI school.

If you or a loved one have been arrested for Marijuana DUI, contact an experienced Orange County defense lawyer today.

Written by Randy Collins

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