999 Fifth Avenue, Suite 350, San Rafael, CA 94901

Call Today for Your Free Consultation
Call Us 415-729-7300

Recreational Marijuana Brings California's Subjective DUI Laws to LightThe legalization of recreational marijuana in California has led to increased police attention towards driving under the influence of marijuana. DUI of marijuana has long been a crime, with the same penalties as DUI of alcohol. Police officers are looking for the same signs of driver impairment that accompany both DUI of alcohol and drugs. Even physical symptoms can be similar for alcohol and marijuana users, such as blood-shot eyes and slow reactions. However, California’s DUI laws have not caught up to legalized recreational marijuana. Police officers and prosecutors have less experience handling cases of DUI of marijuana than they do with DUI of alcohol. Yet, California law forces them to be more subjective in determining when to arrest and charge someone with DUI of marijuana. There are several problems with DUI of marijuana laws that affect all states where recreational marijuana use is legal:

  1. No Objective Definition of Being High: With DUI of alcohol charges, the results of blood alcohol concentration tests are legally accepted to help determine when someone is impaired by alcohol. California does not yet have an equivalent test to determine when someone is legally impaired by marijuana. Other states that have legalized recreational marijuana use THC levels as an indicator of impairment. However, states do not agree on what the THC limit should be. There is also continued debate on whether THC levels accurately reflect a driver’s impairment.
  2. More Difficult to Test for THC: There is not a breath test that can determine the level of THC in a driver’s system. Blood and urine tests are considered the only reliable ways to detect the presence and level of drugs in a person’s body. Police officers are not qualified to perform such tests in the field. The suspect will likely be transported to a police station or medical facility for the testing. Thus, the police officer will have come to the subjective conclusion that someone should be arrested for DUI of marijuana before the tests are administered.
  3. Misleading Test Results: Traces of drugs such as marijuana stay in a person’s body longer than alcohol. It can take weeks for all traces of THC to dissolve in a person. A blood or urine test may show levels of THC when a driver is no longer impaired by the substance.

Contesting DUI Charges

Arrests and charges for DUI of marijuana mostly rely on subjective observations of whether a driver seemed high. However, more objective laws could be problematic for drivers if they do not accurately measure whether a driver is impaired. With the uncertainty surrounding DUI of marijuana laws, you need an experienced attorney to represent you. A San Francisco DUI defense attorney at Burglin Law Offices, P.C., can identify ways to contest your DUI charge. To schedule a free consultation, call 415-729-7300.



Attorneys have an ethical duty to not mislead the public with false or misleading claims about their experience and qualifications.

Unfortunately, many lawyers accept solicitations from for-profit entities selling certificates, website badges, and trophies accompanied with superlatives like "Top 100 Lawyer" "Superior Lawyer" and "Premier Lawyer" with little or no transparency revealing the true basis for such recognition. These pay-to-play enterprises do not administer a legitimate examination of the purchaser’s trial skills and legal knowledge, and consumers seeking a qualified attorney are victimized by these misleading claims.


Posted on in DUI

defend 2016

Another new year is upon us and I sincerely hope you did not start it off with a DUI arrest. Spending four or more hours in a drunk tank is one of the most demoralizing experiences one can have, but now that you're out let's try to minimize the consequences.

Depending on whether you submitted to a chemical test of your breath or blood, or refused to do so without a warrant, you are most likely looking at a license suspension ranging from 4 months to one year.


Posted on in DUI

how to deal

Originally published in the November 2015 issue of Marin Magazine, veteran San Francisco and San Rafael DUI attorney Paul Burglin was asked:

 - What really happens after you see the bluelights in the rearview mirror?
 - What can you do to minimize the damage a DUI charge wreaks on your life?


Posted on in DUI

Allow me to share with you some insight about on-line reviews and website claims in the field of DUI and DMV defense.

Inexperienced attorneys are more tech savvy than veteran lawyers - the latter got their degrees and began practicing law before computers and I-Pads were in existence. Young attorneys learned how to use these things in grade school, and then got training in College on how to utilize these tools for marketing purposes. Because the business of a new lawyer is slow owing to lack of experience, reputation and referrals, they also have the time it takes to get family and friends to write favorable reviews and load their websites with the words and links that boost their organic ranking on search engines.

Let's start with AVVO. When you see an attorney with 40, 80, or 100-plus client reviews on AVVO, understand that the attorney has undoubtedly solicited reviews. I have represented more than 4000 clients in my career, but I do not solicit reviews because I believe it is unseemly to ask clients to talk about confidential matters unless they want to.

Back to Top