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This Is What Really Happens When You Are Caught Driving Stoned

This Is What Really Happens When You Are Caught Driving Stoned

In January of 2018 California residents were granted the right to legally use cannabis as a recreational drug. Just because the depressant is Uncle Sam approved though, doesn’t mean you won’t face serious charges if you are caught driving stoned.

Here’s is an inside look at how a marijuana DUI in California can cost you your license, driving privileges and at times your freedom.

Why Was Weed Banned?

Even though medical marijuana was used to treat various ailments such as migraines, insomnia and stomach pains propaganda during the Mexican Revolution painted the drug to be dangerous. As Mexican immigrants flooded to the United States, so did customs such as smoking marijuana in a cigarette form.

Government officials claimed that the “disruptive behavior” that Mexican immigrants exhibited was due to smoking marijuana. Police officers declared that the use of marijuana was the cause of rising crime rates as well.

The drug labeled as the “Marijuana Menace” adopted radical rumors of people becoming mentally ill. shared a 1927 A New York Times article that stated: “A widow and her four children have been driven insane by eating the Marihuana plant, according to doctors, who say that there is no hope of saving the children’s lives and that the mother will be insane for the rest of her life.”

The United States, by the 1930’s, coined cannabis to be a narcotic drug in 35 states and by 1937 it was completely regulated.

California Joins the Reefer Gang

Recreational marijuana smokers everywhere were overjoyed and proudly raised their pipes to California legalizing cannabis on January 1, 2018.  Although the cannabis industry is generating millions of dollars as predicted, what was not predicted were the issues following legal marijuana.

Issues for the partakers: Even though cannabis became readily available, being able to smoke in all places became difficult.  It is against the law if a person is caught smoking weed in public which means that weed cannot be smoked in areas such as beaches, parks, sidewalks or restaurants. If a person is caught smoking marijuana in public, they can face up to $250 dollars in fines.

Issues for the abstainers: Even though you need to be 21 to consume cannabis, officials fear that there is a heightened risk of minors participating in the smoking of marijuana. Not only has the accessibility of cannabis become easier due to the opening of numerous amount of shops, but the stigma of marijuana being “safe to use has also become normalized. Since the adolescent brain is still developing, cannabis use can pose a threat to cognitive growth. Experts say to emphasize to children of the risks they face if they consume marijuana too young.

If You Get Pulled Over

Since the legalization of cannabis (January 2018) the question of “Is it illegal to drive high in California?” has been answered with a definite yes. Police officers have also been challenged with determining if a driver is high.

Unlike detecting blood alcohol content levels in your system, you cannot test marijuana with a breathalyzer.

How can police tell if you are driving high? Authorities have resulted to use the same tactic that was used to determine if a person was on meth or heroin while driving: smell and look for physical symptoms.

Some prominent symptoms of weed usage can include:

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Slurred speech
  • Having a skunk-like odor

Even if you do pass the sobriety test which involves walking in a straight line and standing on one leg, if a police officer still suspects that you have been driving under the influence of marijuana, you can still be arrested and taken into custody for further investigation.

A blood test, swab test or urine test will then be taken to test if there is THC in your system. If the drug recognition experts prove that there are traces of THC in your saliva, blood or urine there can be serious repercussions. You have the right to refuse to take the blood test but ultimately this will result in graver legal issues.

The legal repercussions for violating DUI drug laws in California can range from paying thousands of dollars to incarceration.


DUI Violation Possible Jail Time Fine Amount of time license suspension Amount necessary spent in Driving school
1st Offense 6 months $390-$1,000 6-10 months 3-9 months
2nd Offense 1 year $390-$1,000 2 years 18-30 months
3rd Offense 1 year $390-$1,000 3 years 30 months
Misdemeanor 1 year $390-$5,000 1-3 years 18-30 months
Felony 2-3 years $390-$1,000 4 years 18-30 months


It is also important to note that medical marijuana is not legal in all states. If you get caught smoking marijuana that is prescribed to you while driving, you can still be charged with a marijuana DUI.

You Can’t Even Smoke Pot at Home

If you do not own your own place and you are renting, you may have a difficult time smoking pot there too. Property owners have the right to ban marijuana use on their estate. This includes areas as well such as National parks. You also can not travel across state lines with pot.

Transportation of marijuana can be a serious offense especially when you are boarding a plane. Weed is to still classified to be a Schedule I illegal drug. So, while you’re standing in line to board the plane and you happen to have pot in your luggage, the security dogs that are trained to sniff out substances such as cocaine will also sniff out your weed.

Smoking MJ Can Get You Fired

Although all states have legalized marijuana over half of employers still conduct drug tests. Drugs tested can range from cocaine, meth and pot. If employers find marijuana in a urine or blood test it is legal for them to terminate your employment.

Proposition 64 which states that the government would “Allow public and private employers to enact and enforce workplace policies pertaining to marijuana

There are no procedures set in place to protect your employment if you smoke marijuana either. Which means that you probably do not have the best chance of claiming a wrongful termination.

Driving High Has Led to Fatal Accidents

Data has recently indicated that since marijuana legalization, the number of vehicle crashes has increased substantially. In one year in the states of Oregon, California and Washington marijuana DUI statistics have indicated there has been a 3% increase in car accidents.

Being under the influence of cannabis can affect a person’s driving skills. Marijuana impairs you from operating your vehicle properly by delaying reaction time and motor coordination.

GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins stated to NBC News “Too many people operate under the false belief that marijuana or opioids don’t impair their ability to drive, or even that these drugs make them safer drivers,” Adkins continues with “Busting this myth requires states to expand their impaired driving campaigns to include marijuana and opioids along with alcohol to show drivers that impairment is impairment, regardless of substance.”

In the state of California, the rate of car accidents has also increased on the cannabis holiday 4/20. Over a 25-year period, about 1,396 people have lost their lives due to impaired driving on 4/20 and 30 days following the weed holiday. Unfortunately, the data also included that the drivers who had been involved in the fatal car accidents were young adults ages 21-30.

Who Smokes the Most Weed?

Marijuana use is predominantly higher amongst millennials 18-25 years old.  The shock factor does not come with the age that is smoking pot but more of what it does to a still-growing brain. Research has concluded that brain stops developing at 25 years old.

People who habitually smoke before the age of 25 are putting their IQ in jeopardy. Studies reported that people who have smoked before the brain has been fully developed, drop six IQ points.

What is also surprising is that the section of the brain that is affected is a vital part: the frontal cortex. The frontal cortex or frontal lobe controls skills such as judgment, problem-solving and sexual behavior.

When the frontal lobe is damaged then the brain can suffer serious damage and people are likely to experience changes in personality, have trouble in making certain facial expressions and lack the ability to fully judge risks and dangers.

Smoking Pot Can Effect Your Sex-Life

Sexually active people across the world have used weed as a sort of aphrodisiac for many years. Even though research has concluded that marijuana does heighten a marijuana user’s sex drive, recent studies have shown that smoking weed can ruin your sex life. Here are three reasons why marijuana can have you wanting to catch some Z’s during sex.

The Big O may be difficult to reach: A study conducted in 2009 indicated that chronic use of marijuana can hinder a person from achieving an orgasm. For men, the consequence proves to be much more severe. In recent studies, men who reported to smoke weed upon sex experienced erectile dysfunction and were not able to perform. It does not mean that pot all together makes you lose your sex drive. Experts say that if not smoked often and taken in a smaller dose it should not be harmful to your sex life.

Intense anxiety and paranoia may creep in: If you are having a problem with performance your state of panic can cause you to freak out. Board-certified urologist Dr. Thomas Greene shares with MensHealth that men may be more apt to feel intense anxiety. “If we look at the effects of anxiety on erections, it appears that anxiety can cause intermittent impotence. Therefore, on an anecdotal basis, I would recommend moderation to increase the odds of erectile success”, stated Greene.

There’s a possibility you will fall asleep: Many have argued that the purpose of consuming marijuana is to relax. Sometimes though, it can make you too relaxed.  THC (tetrahydrocannabinol)which is one of the cannabinoids found in weed, can react and affect your sleep/awake cycle Despite giving off a euphoric high, the come down will make you want to snooze.

Do the Munchies Really Exist?

Smoking pot sends transmitters to your brain that trick you into thinking that you are hungry. Companies such as jack and the box have banked on people getting the “munchies” and even created a “munchie meal” that is filled with every food a pot lover could dream of.

Indulging in massive amounts of fatty foods though is not so satisfying for your waistline. The culprit that increases your appetite is THC. When THC is released into your system and reaches the part of the brain that controls appetite, it then stimulates it which will cause you to “think” you are hungry.

THC also intensifies our sense of smell. So, if you happen to live right next to an open-door pizza shop there is a strong possibility you will soon be running for a slice.

Different Strains for Different Folks

Not all weed is created the same.

There are two main categories of marijuana which include Sativa and Indica and each strain have a different purpose.

Weed Is Not as Safe as You Think

Despite authorities cracking down on smoking and driving there is still an overwhelming concern surrounding dope usage. The reason being is that many distributors have been selling “fake weed.”

“Fake Weed” or Synthetic Marijuana became available at locations such as gas stations, novelty stores and even online. Marijuana that is labeled as synthetic has potent chemicals sprayed on a dried-out, tattered up plant that can be smoked. It is also categorized as a risky psychoactive drug.

Cases have surfaced that many people have suffered intense bleeding. Consumers of the synthetic cannabinoids have found blood in their urine, experienced bloody noses and had been coughing up blood.

The reason?

For a majority of the time, synthetic marijuana is made up of harsh chemicals one of them being rat poison.

The OC Register reported that in 2015, Northern Californian teen Connor Eckhardt died at the age of 19 due to smoking synthetic pot. After inhaling one hit, Eckhardt became unconscious. After much time of not being responsive, the teen was transferred to Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach

. After six months of being on life support, Eckhardt passed.

The parents of Eckhardt soon after filed a wrongful death lawsuit. Trial lawyer Brian Chase of the law firm of Bisnar Chase helped in reaching a settlement for the Eckhardt family.

The Laced, the Fake and the Dangerous

The appeal of laced marijuana is the idea that it might give you a greater high, but marijuana that is laced can include drugs such as cocaine, meth and even chemicals that are used to kill insects.

The effects that laced weed has on marijuana users can also be devastating. Many end up with irreparable brain damage or even die from usage. Dangers of smoking weed

How can you tell if marijuana is laced?

There are certain techniques and obvious detectors to distinguish real weed from laced weed, which include:

  • The marijuana has shiny crystals on the surface
  • Purple or any different discoloration
  • Exudes a superficial odor such as perfume

Experts say that consuming pot in its purest form is the safest option to take for cannabis lovers.

If You Need Help…

The devastation that follows the misusage of marijuana is tragic. Thousands have lost their lives on the road from drivers being high behind the wheel.  Funeral expenses and medical bills can be costly.  For 40 years, the personal injury lawyers of Bisnar Chase have been helping families recuperate financially after the wrongful death of a loved one.

Bisnar Chase’s personal injury attorneys have also held a 96% success rate and have won millions in compensation for injury victims.

When you call 877-514-6933 you will receive a free consultation.

You do not have to pay out-of-pocket for a high driver’s or marijuana company’s negligence. Call now.

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California Personal Injury Blog