Riverside DUI for Recreational Marijuana Attorney

California is one of few states to have legalized recreational marijuana. While this change has decreased the strain on California law enforcement departments and allowed them greater flexibility to address more serious crimes, it has complicated driving under the influence (DUI) violations.

Though consumption of recreational marijuana is now legal in California, driving under the influence of marijuana is not. However, it is virtually impossible to test how impaired a driver is while under the influence of marijuana; a chemical test will only reveal whether the driver has consumed marijuana recently.

In Riverside, CA, DUI arrests for recreational marijuana can be incredibly complex. After a DUI arrest for recreational marijuana, you need experienced legal representation. The team at the Law Offices of Schwartz & Godbey have handled many types of DUI cases and can help you reach a more favorable outcome in your case.

Why Choose the Attorneys at the Law Offices of Schwartz & Godbey?

When you need a criminal defense attorney for a DUI violation for recreational marijuana in Riverside, it’s vital to secure legal representation from an attorney who can fully investigate the facts of your case and provide a solid defense to help you avoid the harsh penalties that come with a DUI conviction. Consider what the team of attorneys at the Law Offices of Schwartz & Godbey can offer:

  • Founding attorney Catherine A. Schwartz has more than 30 years of experience as a lawyer. As a former Deputy Public Defender, she has extensive insider knowledge of the local criminal justice system.
  • Our firm understands that no two DUI cases are alike. We take the time to get to know you and your circumstances and fully investigate the facts of your case to provide the best possible defense against your charges.
  • We understand the evolving marijuana laws in California and how they apply to your case. We can uncover procedural violations that may have occurred with your conviction that may lead to dropped or reduced charges.

When you choose to work with the attorneys at the Law Offices of Schwartz & Godbey, you can take comfort in the fact that you have decades of seasoned legal experience behind you and an attorney willing to fight to defend your rights in court.

Testing for Driving Under the Influence of Recreational Marijuana in Riverside, CA

California follows an implied consent statute when it comes to issuing state driver’s licenses. As a California driver using a California driver’s license, you give your implied consent to chemical testing for DUI during a traffic stop as long as the officer conducting the traffic stop has probable cause to do so.

The medical community agrees that marijuana impairs the ability to drive safely. However, the testing methods available to Riverside County police officers can only detect THC in a driver’s bloodstream; these methods cannot deduce when the driver last consumed marijuana or the extent of the effects the driver experienced. Marijuana affects everyone differently. Two people could consume the same quantity of the exact same type of marijuana and have two very different reactions.

Even if the police obtain a blood or urine sample to test for marijuana, a prosecutor cannot rely on the test results alone to seek a DUI conviction for recreational marijuana use. To secure conviction, the prosecutor will evaluate the other factors of the arrest, including:

  • The driver’s behavior prior to the traffic stop, including erratic driving or moving violations.
  • Statements the driver made to the responding officers during the traffic stop.
  • How recently the driver consumed marijuana. Signs of recent consumption might include a strong marijuana smell emanating from the vehicle, the presence of marijuana with the driver inside the vehicle, or visible marijuana smoke.
  • The driver’s behavior and appearance during the stop, such as bloodshot eyes, inability to follow directions, or other visual indicators that the driver is “stoned.”
  • The driver’s ability to complete field sobriety tests. These tests not only check for physical impairment but also the ability to follow directions, both of which become impaired soon after consuming marijuana.

Any of these variables could potentially work against a driver involved in a DUI arrest for marijuana in Riverside, and a conviction could lead to substantial penalties.

Penalties for DUI for Marijuana in Riverside

If convicted of a DUI, a driver who consumed marijuana prior to driving should expect the same penalties applied to cases involving drivers who consumed alcohol prior to their DUI arrests:

  • First offenses typically incur fines up to $1,000 plus penalty assessments, jail time for 48 hours to six months, and a six-month driver’s license suspension.
  • A second offense may result in fines up to $1,000 plus penalty assessments, jail time of 96 hours to one year, and a two-year driver’s license suspension.
  • Third DUI offenses carry penalties including fines up to $1,800 plus penalty assessments, jail time of 120 days to one year, and a three-year driver’s license suspension.

The penalties for DUI convictions are quite harsh, and the evidence supporting many DUI for marijuana cases is shaky at best.

Defending Against a DUI for Recreational Marijuana

The right attorney can make a tremendous difference in the outcome of a DUI case for marijuana. In most of these cases, successful defense requires attacking the prosecution’s evidence, such as pointing out that chemical tests are unreliable in these cases due to the fact that an individual could show high THC levels more than 12 hours after consuming marijuana, long after the impairing effects have passed. Beating a charge for DUI for marijuana may also require challenging the grounds of the traffic stop or proving the driver was not impaired at the time of the arrest.

These situations can be difficult, but the attorneys at the Law Offices of Schwartz & Godbey can help guide you through them. We have handled countless DUI cases in the past, for both alcohol and recreational marijuana. Our firm knows the state’s marijuana laws and DUI laws and how both will apply in your case. If you face a DUI conviction for recreational marijuana use in Riverside or San Bernardino, CA, contact the Law Offices of Schwartz & Godbey online or call our team at (951) 686-8190 to schedule a free consultation about your case.