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Why Can You Be Charged with DUI for Using Marijuana in a Parked Vehicle?

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Why Can You Be Charged with DUI for Using Marijuana in a Parked Vehicle?Though recreational marijuana is legal in California, there are still many restrictions on how you can use it. For instance, you are not allowed to have marijuana in an open container in your vehicle. When transporting marijuana, it must be in a sealed container. Using marijuana in a parked vehicle may be a violation if you are near a public place where use is restricted, such as a school. There is also the possibility that you could be charged with driving under the influence of marijuana if you are caught using the substance in a parked vehicle.

Marijuana DUI Without Driving

A police officer does not need to have witnessed you driving in order to arrest you on suspicion of DUI involving alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs. There may be circumstantial evidence that you had recently been driving, such as:

  • Where your vehicle is parked
  • Whether the vehicle is still running or the keys are in the ignition
  • Whether you are sitting in the driver’s seat

Combining this evidence with a reasonable suspicion that you are impaired from marijuana use may be enough for the police officer to arrest you for DUI.

What Are Your Defense Tactics?

If you are arrested for DUI after using marijuana in a parked car, you can contend that there is insufficient evidence to prove that you had been driving or were under the influence of marijuana. Both rely on subjective evidence, but proving that you were under the influence of marijuana is particularly subjective because California does not have a legal limit for marijuana in your system like it does with alcohol. An officer will instead look for symptoms that suggest that you may be impaired from marijuana use. If an officer approaches your parked vehicle while you are using a marijuana product, it is important to remember that you are not required to participate in a sobriety test or answer questions that may incriminate yourself. Field and chemical tests are not reliable ways to determine whether someone is under the influence of marijuana.

Contact a Sonoma, California, DUI Defense Attorney

Without a clear definition of what it means for a driver to be under the influence of marijuana, the way you present the circumstantial evidence will be a key to your case. A San Francisco DUI defense lawyer at Burglin Law Offices, P.C., can argue that there is not enough evidence to prove that you were impaired or that the police officer violated your rights during the arrest. To schedule a free consultation, call 415-729-7300.



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