Marijuana DUI cases in Vista Courts are on the rise as they are statewide. With the passage of California laws legalizing recreational and medical marijuana, it will become an increasing issue on our highways. Just because it is now legal, doesn't mean that it is legal to drive with it in your system if it impairs your ability to drive with the same care and caution as a sober person under similar circumstances. The same goes for any drug, prescription or not, with or without alcohol involved.
Drug DUI cases are treated a little different than alcohol cases. If you are arrested for a "Drug DUI" and there is no alcohol, the law enforcement officer should not take your California licenase at the time of arrest nor should they issue a pink sheet suspension notice and 30 day temporary license pending a suspension. That proceedure is limited to alcohol violations, however, if there is a conviction for a Drug DUI, then there is a suspension the same as there would be for an alcohol DUI.
Drug DUI offenses are not eligible for Diversion also known as PC 1000. The law excludes these offenses for treatment in lieu of prosecution in North County and all of California. Drug DUIs are treated similarly to alcohol DUIs with probation, fines, programs and possibly custody or an alternative to custody like public work or community service. Every jurisdiction may treat these offenses slightly differently so it is important to hire an attorney who practices regularly in the Court where your case is being heard.
A drug DUI carries the same consequences if convicted, but there are differences in how they are handled. A drug DUI does not trigger the DMV suspension at the time of arrest like an alcohol DUI does. They both trigger a suspension if convicted of driving under the influence whether it was alcohol or drugs. This suspension can be immediately converted to a "restricted license" with the filing of the SR-22 proof of insurance, program enrollment and payment of a reissue fee. Any alcohol DUI arrest triggers a four month suspension on a first offense if you are .08 blood alcohol (B.A.) level or more, or under 21 and .01 B.A. or more and you have to set a hearing to challenge that suspension. It cannot be converted to a restricted license until after 30 days of the suspension has passed.
A drug DUI in North San Diego County is treated similarly to an alcohol DUI. Once someone is pulled over and the officer notices some impairment, if there is no alcohol in a breath test or there are other indications or statements concerning recent drug use, then the officer will want to take a blood test for drug analysis by the crime lab. If you do not consent to a blood test, the officer should get a warrant for the blood draw absent any exigent circumstance. The problem with refusing is the loss of license for a year for the refusal regardless whether there is alcohol or drugs in your system.
A Vista Drug DUI does result in a suspended license by DMV which is triggered by the conviction. If there is less than a .08 blood alcohol (B.A.) level and the arrestee is 21 or older, there should NOT be a DMV suspension from the initial stop like for a .08 B.A. or more. The problem is that reasonable suspicion of drug use allows the officer to demand a blood test for analysis and it takes 3 weeks for the crime lab to get results. So the officer serves the pink sheet Notice of Suspension and Temporary license on the arrestee because he does not know and suspects a .08 B.A. level or more and or drugs. To challenge the suspension, it requires setting a hearing by calling DMV within 10 days.