California has a history of progressive marijuana laws, including one of the nation’s oldest medical marijuana statutes. The more recent California Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) allows people over age 21 to possess, privately use, and give away up to one ounce of cannabis.

But the law still takes a hard stance against driving under the influence of controlled substances, including marijuana. Driving under the influence can land you in jail and may cause you to be held civilly liable if you injure other people.

First, Familiarize Yourself with California’s Marijuana DUI Laws

Do you know our state’s laws when it comes to driving under the influence of marijuana? If not, you’re not alone. A survey by the Sacramento Bee showed that nearly half of California drivers had an incomplete understanding of marijuana DUI laws.

Here’s a rundown of important things to know:

  • In California, you can be charged with a DUI for driving under the influence of many types of substances, including marijuana.
  • Holding a medical marijuana license is not an adequate defense against a DUI charge.
  • The state must show that you were impaired at the time of your DUI, not just that you smoked marijuana.
  • Unlike alcohol, there is no legal bloodstream concentration limit for the presence of THC/marijuana in your body.

In California, you can also be charged with a DUI for driving while addicted to a drug, based on the idea that you may have a tolerance to, or emotional dependence upon, a drug that interferes with your ability to drive. California Vehicle Code section 23152(c) states, “It is unlawful for any person who is addicted to the use of any drug to drive a vehicle.” This does not apply if a person is part of a narcotic treatment program.

Understanding Civil Liability for a Marijuana DUI

It’s up to the police and county prosecutor to determine whether someone will be charged with a DUI. A first-time marijuana DUI offense can result in 96 hours to 6 months in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, a driver’s license suspension, and/or DUI education classes. These penalties escalate with subsequent offenses.

But your civil liability is a separate issue. If you injure someone in a car accident in a marijuana DUI, the injured person has a right to sue you under California law.

If you are hit by someone who drove under the influence of marijuana, your life could be changed forever due to their negligence. Although the drugged driving accident may have a huge impact on your life, you can sue for compensation to minimize this impact on your finances and your future.

Victims of California marijuana DUI accidents can sue for:

After Being Injured by an Impaired Driver, You Need Legal Representation

Someone who is so impaired by marijuana that they cause a car accident is breaking the law in California. However, proving they were impaired and holding them civilly liable (getting money from them) for injuring you can be quite a challenge.

That is why you will want to consult with a California attorney who is experienced with both marijuana DUI cases and car accident liability cases. Your attorney can help you gather the evidence you need to make a solid case against the impaired driver.

Even if you can’t prove the driver was under the influence of marijuana, you can still be able to prove they were at fault for the crash. That alone could be enough for a high-dollar award that helps you move forward with your life after the accident.

Experience a serious car accident?

Check out our Car Accident Page to learn more about how the process works.

We Handle Your Marijuana DUI Accident Claim So You Can Focus on Your Life

After a marijuana DUI accident, contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many areas of traffic law, including accidents that result in injuries from someone driving under the influence of marijuana and other drugs. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering from your accident while we handle the legal details. We truly care about our fellow California citizens. Get your free online case evaluation.

Accident Client

“Last March, my partner was struck by a vehicle while crossing the street. During this difficult time of healing, we knew that bills were going to pile up and his was going to be a long process. After looking at multiple law firms, we knew that Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers was going to be the best place to work with. Lauren and her team were patient, supportive and caring during his difficult time. His schedule was always busy with work and doctor appointments that his main source of communication was through email. Lauren and her team made it to where he didn’t have to worry about anything but just sending over the paper work he got from the hospital, and other bill collectors involving his incident and they worried about the rest.

Because of all their help my partner Aaron, was able to heal with less worries on his shoulders. By end of December, everything was settled and we were pleased with the results. I’d like to give a huge thank you to Lauren & the Sally Morin team. If you’re looking for a law firm for your incident, I’d definitely look at this law firm.”

We're here to help with your Personal Injury claim

Check out our Personal Injury FAQ Page to learn more about how the process works.

We Handle Your Personal Injury Accident Claim So You Can Focus on Your Life

After an injury, contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many areas of the law, including pedestrian and car accidents that involve speeding. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering while we handle the legal details.

We truly care about the people of San Jose and all of California. Contact us today for a
free online case evaluation.


It is essential to know your rights after a traffic accident so you can protect yourself and the value of your claim.
This guide will help you:

  • 1Know what to do when dealing with insurance claims, police reports and lawyers.
  • 2Avoid making mistakes that undermine the value of your claim
  • 3Put yourself in a position to get the best settlement possible