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Can I Face Charges If Someone Smokes Marijuana In My Car?


It is illegal to have marijuana in an open container in a vehicle; it needs to be sealed. The safest way of traveling with marijuana is to have it in your trunk or out of reach in a container that is not viewable. If someone in your car is smoking marijuana and you are driving but are not smoking, you could still get cited. The police can still do an investigation, even if you’re not smoking and haven’t smoked that day. So, you might still have to go through the whole procedure of being arrested, bailing out, hiring a lawyer and fighting the case. The smart thing to do is to not let anyone have open containers of marijuana or smoke marijuana while in your vehicle. It’s just common sense.

Does Law Enforcement Undergo Additional Training To Detect Usage Of Marijuana?

The state of California continues to make funds available to increase the amount of training that officers undergo in order to detect usage of marijuana. In addition, more and more officers are trained to be drug recognition experts every year.

Alcohol detection is backed by a much stronger science and there is a per se level of 0.08. This makes it easier for prosecutors and jurors to wrap their fingers around it and say, “Yes, we have a number.”

It’s much more difficult to detect impairment from marijuana, prescription and illegal drugs. Studies have shown that officers who have been trained as drug recognition experts have a very low standard applied to them to become qualified experts. The percentages in their training that are required for them to be certified to detect what someone is impaired by are extremely low. It is also very difficult to train these officers with people who are actually under the influence of illegal drugs. That is because they would need people to take illegal drugs in order for them to train under realistic conditions.

Oftentimes officers will think that someone is under the influence of one substance, but another substance shows up on the blood test. They make mistakes all the time. They’re not perfect, but they are getting trained to look for certain things. There are all sorts of myths, including the idea of a green-colored tongue suggesting marijuana usage. Marijuana does not result in a green tongue, yet these officers are taught in training to look for a green tongue. It’s just not an exact science, and it’s something that should be and is often challenged.

Does California Have A Per Se Marijuana DUI To Explain The Terminology?

In California, there is no per se number or threshold for marijuana, and there shouldn’t be. There are no studies that can show what a per se number should be for marijuana. In addition, it’s just too hard to detect. There is also the problem of the levels of marijuana being higher in habitual users, which does not mean impairment. Having a per se law with regard to marijuana would subject too many people who are not impaired to prosecution and potential conviction. Some states have decided that the per se threshold for marijuana should be at five nanograms per milliliter. However, some studies have shown that is not a number that shows impairment, as it is way too low. Until someone can break this down better and convince enough professionals, scientists, and people in the medical field that a number can be pinned down, there should not be a per se threshold for marijuana when it comes to DUI charges.

A problem with impairment laws is that people get emotional. Extreme emotional reaction to Drug DUI’s is understandable. Accidents involving drug-impaired drivers can result in horrific, life-changing events that harm so many people. However, very often, politicians will use that to get stricter laws, even when those stricter laws are not scientifically proven. That is why a lot of states adopt per se laws. The laws need to take into consideration that people who are not impaired, who are using medical marijuana to treat symptoms, or who are being responsible by not driving for the first many hours after ingestion should not be prosecuted for being impaired just because there are traces of marijuana metabolites in their system.

For more information on Additional Charges For Marijuana Usage, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (415) 523-7878 today.

Aaron Bortel

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