DUI Laws for Marijuana Use in California

Content medically reviewed by Vicky Magobet, PMHNP-BC, on October 15, 2021.

California became a recreational marijuana use state at the end of 2016. Despite this, many marijuana users are still unaware that driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal in all U.S. states. Even in legal states, it is essential to know precisely what laws your state has about weed and driving under the influence. Learn more below about the legal ramifications of marijuana DUIs in California.

How Marijuana Use Impairs Driving

There is conflicting evidence on how marijuana impacts driving performance. Some studies show driving under the influence of marijuana can double the risk of an accident. Yet other studies claim people under the influence of marijuana tend to recognize their impairment and adjust accordingly by driving slower and more cautiously.

Still, police may use these behaviors as a reason to believe someone is under the influence of marijuana:

  • Driving too slowly.
  • Running a stop sign or red light.
  • Swerving or weaving between lanes.
  • Being asleep on the side of the road in your car.

Marijuana DUI Laws in California

The laws regarding DUI offenses are under California Vehicle Code 23152. A few relate specifically to marijuana:

  • Code 23152(f): This law prohibits driving under the influence of any drug that can impair driving ability, whether the drug is illicit or prescribed.
  • Code 23152(c): According to this law, it is illegal to drive while addicted to any drug. However, penalties for this law may not apply to someone participating in an approved drug treatment plan.
  • Code 23152(g): This law states it is illegal to drive under the influence of both alcohol and drugs combined. This law used to be Code 23152(f).

If a police officer pulls you over and believes you are under the influence of marijuana, he or she may ask you to submit to a blood or urine test.

Consequences of a Marijuana DUI Arrest

Should you receive a DUI conviction for marijuana for the first time, it will usually be a misdemeanor. Still, the penalty could include:

  • Jail time: You could be in jail anywhere from 96 hours to six months.
  • Fines: The minimum is $390, but you could pay up to $1,000.
  • License suspension: You could lose your license for six months.
  • Education: You may have to take a drug education class, typically for about three months.

A repeated offense or an offense with extenuating circumstances could receive a felony charge, which increases these penalties.

Seek Recovery From Addiction at Diamond House Detox

If you've gotten a DUI for weed and are struggling with marijuana withdrawal, Diamond House Detox wants to help. We offer 24-hour admittance to our Sacramento recovery center and have specialized treatment plans just for you. Call us or contact us online today to start.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner at Diamond House Detox
Vicky is a board certified Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. She began her nursing career in healthcare by working in the intensive care unit, and then an inpatient psychiatric hospital. After realizing the mental health needs of both the patients and the families she served, she became a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. Throughout her experience working with clients, she has developed a passion for those with dual diagnoses and specializes in helping individuals recognize the issues driving their substance use. This recognition has been crucial to the individual’s success in treatment. Vicky opened Diamond House Detox so that she can address these issues early on in a therapeutic environment to allow clients to transition to the next level in their recovery.
Vicky Magobet
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