California Vehicle Code §23152(a) Misdemeanor

The Law Offices of Bruce M. Margolin, Esq. in Los Angeles provides representation throughout California and nationwide to clients who are facing criminal charges. Attorneys at the firm have an exceptional amount of experience successfully defending criminal offenses. The firm has worked on cases for such high-profile clients as Patrick Naughton (cyber crime and computer privacy rights) and Timothy Leary (LSD flashbacks and the super consciousness defense).


It is unlawful to drive while under the influence of marijuana if impaired to the degree that renders one unable to operate a motor vehicle safely.


1st offense: maximum 6 months in jail; fine of $390-$1,000; restricted license; 3 years probation, and, if under 21 years old, loss of license for 1 year. (Qualified medical patients are not exempt from statutes prohibiting driving while impaired.)

Notes from Bruce:


Unlike the .08% blood alcohol level in drunk driving cases, which makes a defendant presumptively guilty, there is no presumptive standard THC amount that establishes impairment to operate a motor vehicle.


Studies show that using alcohol with marijuana radically increases chances of impairment and these types of cases are much less defensible. DON’T DO IT!


In the event of being pulled over by the police, you may refuse to answer any questions (other than identifying yourself) or take field sobriety tests, although refusal may be seen as consciousness of guilt. However, if you are arrested, you are required to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test. Refusal will result in the loss of your driver’s license for a minimum of one year.

How to Save Your Driver's License

CALIFORNIA LAW: Persons under 21 convicted of any marijuana offense will lose their California driver’s license for one year, even if not driving at the time. Adults may also lose their license for up to 3 years [CA Vehicle Code 13202] if the court suspends or orders the DMV to revoke the driver’s license for possession for sale, transportation, or sale to a minor. In many other states, anyone convicted of any offense involving any controlled substance, including marijuana, will lose their driver’s license for 6 months, regardless of whether or not the offense is driving-related! See points 1-5 (on page g) for courtroom strategies on how to avoid conviction for less than an ounce. Even if you lose your license, you may still request a restricted license from the court. In cases involving a “critical need to drive.” the court can allow for a restricted license.

YOUTHFUL OFFENDER ALTERNATIVE PROGRAMS: In some CA counties, prosecutors have established programs in which the defendant agrees to attend counseling, such as Mother’s Against Drunk Driving meetings or similar programs. Typically, go days later, the defendant is allowed to plead to an alternative charge, such as “Disturbing the Peace.” This avoids a controlled substance conviction and loss of license.

The Law Offices of Bruce M. Margolin, Esq.

Located in Los Angeles, CA

The Law Offices of Bruce M. Margolin, Attorney, is located in Los Angeles, California, and serves clients throughout LA County, including Santa Monica, Burbank, Long Beach and San Fernando.

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