California DUIs: Driving While High vs. Drunk
California has always been a progressive state when it comes to marijuana usage. Our state was the first to legalize marijuana for medical use and more recently passed Proposition 64 to legalize marijuana for recreational use by adults aged 21 and older. As such, the use of marijuana is on the rise.
However, what many people do not know or realize is that driving while under the influence of marijuana is against the law, just like operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. The best advice, whether you use marijuana medicinally or recreationally, is to not get behind the wheel and to always have a designated driver if you want to go out.
Why Can You Get a DUI for Driving High?
The reason you can be charged with a DUI (driving under the influence) is that marijuana can affect one’s ability to safely operate and control a motor vehicle. Keep in mind, the law considers impairment of individuals for more than just driving drunk.
In addition, the law does not make a distinction between marijuana, prescription drugs, illegal/control substances, or over-the-counter drugs. In fact, any type of drug that causes impairment of driving abilities could result in being charged with a DUI drug offense.
Are the Consequences of Being Found Guilty Different from an Alcohol DUI?
The types of penalties, fines, and fees you could experience if charged and convicted of a DUI drug offense can vary from an alcohol DUI. The law has established sentencing guidelines for alcohol-related offenses, while impaired drug offenses have not always been as clear-cut.
Prior to the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes, being found driving under the influence of marijuana was typically treated as a drug offense for possession of a controlled substance. When the laws changed, this created variances in the legal system in regards to the amount of marijuana one is allowed to have in his or her possession.
In addition, there is often confusion about whether impairment from marijuana should be considered more harshly if marijuana is discovered in the driver’s vehicle. Yet, just because there is marijuana in the vehicle, as long as there are no signs of it having been used while driving, then one would think it should not be held against the driver—but this is not always the case.
Some of the consequences you could face if convicted and found guilty of a marijuana or drug-related DUI could include:
- Mandatory License Suspension/Revocation
- DUI Program Completion
- Mandatory Fines Based on the Degree/New/Repeat Offence
- License Reinstatement Fees
- Mandatory SR22 Insurance Filing
While these are related to being found guilty of an alcohol-related DUI, your charges could be further compounded if you were under the influence of both drugs and alcohol, or there is an excess of marijuana beyond the legalized limit in a vehicle, and so on.
If you were convicted of a DUI for drugs or alcohol and need your SR22 filing, please feel free to contact Breathe Easy Insurance at 866.822.7755 today! We offer some the best rates on auto, home, renters, boat, and mandatory SR22 coverage.