DUI laws in California cover a lot more than alcohol. If you are stopped by the police in Orange County because officers believe you are intoxicated on marijuana or any other drug – even a legal prescription drug – you can be prosecuted for DUI, and you’ll need to contact an experienced Orange County DUI defense lawyer. If you think that marijuana doesn’t impair your driving ability, think again. Researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) are discovering that marijuana very much impacts a person’s driving ability. The NIDA tested 18 volunteer marijuana smokers. Instead of real streets, the volunteers used a high-tech driving simulator that can replicate the look and feel of driving situations from crowded highways to isolated rural roads. Test subjects were monitored after consuming various combinations of pot, placebos, and alcohol, and the results are surprising to some.

The active ingredient in marijuana is called tetrahydrocannabinol (or “THC”). NIDA researchers found that at higher blood level concentrations, THC’s effect on a driver is similar to the effect of a blood alcohol content level of 0.08 percent, the legal limit. Researchers also determined that alcohol and marijuana and have more of an impact on drivers when used together; the combination of the substances makes an accident more likely than the use of either substance by itself.

California police officers are constantly looking for intoxicated drivers. If you’re charged with driving under the influence in southern California, a good DUI defense lawyer can examine the details of your case and offer the advice and legal representation you need. Penalties for DUI are severe in California, and those convicted can face a combination of fines and jail time as well as other penalties. The best strategy, of course, is never to combine pot smoking or drinking with driving. If you are charged with DUI in southern California – now or in the future – don’t wait. Take the first step and call an experienced Orange County DUI defense lawyer as quickly as possible.