A case out of Illinois underlines the need to re-evaluate the way marijuana-related DUI offenses are handled. A week or so before he caused the auto crash that killed his passenger, Brock Meerseman, 20, of Pekin, Illinois, smoked marijuana. Meerseman was sentenced to 14 years in prison for aggravated DUI. Meerseman’s blood test at the time of his arrest discovered tetrahydrocannabinol, marijuana’s active ingredient, according to Tazewell County Assistant State’s Attorney Kate Legge. When you face a DUI charge in southern California – including marijuana-DUI – contact an experienced Orange County DUI defense attorney immediately for the legal advice and representation you are very much going to need.

Whether the THC impaired Meerseman’s driving was not even considered an issue. Unlike alcohol, THC traces can remain in the blood for weeks after a person smokes pot – days after the effects of intoxication have faded. Nevertheless, the law declares that if THC traces are in your bloodstream, you are legally “intoxicated.” If the facts demonstrate that Mr. Meerseman was responsible for his passenger’s death, he should be held accountable. But pretending that he was intoxicated if he wasn’t is just silly. It’s the equivalent of saying that if you drank a beer a week ago and you get into an accident, it’s because you were intoxicated. Our legal system can do better than that.

In California, if you are convicted for driving under the influence of marijuana, your sentence will depend on the circumstances and details of the case, your previous record, and several other factors. For a first DUI conviction, you could potentially be sentenced to a year in jail, costly fees and fines, a 12-week DUI school, and a 6-month suspension of your driver’s license. California courts today are tough on first-offense, marijuana-related DUI cases, so if you face this charge, don’t assume that you’ll get off lightly because it’s a first offense. If you face any DUI-related charge in southern California, discuss the case at once with an experienced Orange County DUI defense attorney.