Posted By OKABE & HAUSHALTER 30-Aug-2018
The legalization of marijuana has created a problem for law enforcement officials throughout California. Checkpoints for driving under the influence (DUI) are not only being held for alcohol anymore. Now, they are also being used to screen for marijuana use by drivers. Hundreds of DUI checkpoints occur throughout the state by police officers. The checkpoints are funded by the state government, which tracks arrests and tickets for drug DUI charges but not the type of drug that was used in the case. Our Los Angeles driving under the influence attorney would like to discuss how the police handle marijuana DUI following legalization in this post.
Changes Since Legalization
Marijuana DUI is nothing new for police officers in California. They’ve been dealing with the problem for decades but now that the drug has been legalized for recreational use it has compounded the problem. It’s still a little early for law enforcement agencies to analyze trends when it comes to marijuana DUI but officers still have opinions and thoughts on how things have changed since the drug became legal on January 1, 2018. Some officers believe that people are more open about marijuana since the law changed, as many officers admit that their DUI stops routinely involve the drug.
Testing for Marijuana Use
A traffic stop for possible marijuana DUI begins just like a traffic stop for alcohol-related DUI does: police will look for varying driving behaviors. These include speeding, swerving, weaving in and out of traffic, unexplained braking and other signs. If there are signs of intoxication during the traffic stop and the officer believes drugs are involved, the suspect will be taken to be evaluated by a drug expert investigator.
The drug expert investigator will then perform the following tests to determine if drugs were involved in the intoxication of the suspected DUI driver:
- Interview with arresting officer
- Breath test
- Exam of the suspect
- Vital sign check
- Eye exam
- Eye exam in low lighting
- Divided-attention test
- Check for injection sites
- Physical exam of muscle tone
- Investigator recommends charges
- A toxicology report is reviewed
Police Officer Training for DUI
Police officers in California have three options when it comes to training for DUI. Those three options include the field sobriety test, which is considered the lowest level of training. It occurs when the officer is going through the academy and helps them identify drivers who are intoxicated due to alcohol use.
The medium level of training is known as the advanced roadside impairment driving enforcement. This helps officers identify drivers who are impaired due to drug use and alcohol. The highest level of training is that of drug recognition expert. This training takes two weeks of intensive classes that teaches officers how to detect drug use. The training also requires the officer to make 12 arrests in the field for drug DUI. The opinions of the arresting officer have to meet the results of the toxicology report without failure.
Have you been arrested for DUI in California? It’s time to speak to a Los Angeles driving under the influence attorney about your case. Call the office of Okabe & Haushalter to schedule an appointment today.