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Criminal Defense From A Former Prosecutor

How marijuana affects your ability to drive

Now that marijuana is legal for recreational use in the Golden State, you may assume you are safe to drive after you smoke. However, driving under the influence of cannabis can be dangerous and result in criminal charges. 

You should always avoid operating a vehicle while you are high on marijuana. Here are some of the ways that THC may affect your ability to drive.

Impact on driving

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, using marijuana while driving can do the following:

  • Impact your ability to make good decisions
  • Slow your reaction time
  • Distort your perception
  • Impair your coordination
  • Cause memory loss
  • Make it difficult to solve problems

Some people believe they are better drivers while high. While you may feel relaxed and confident, this does not mean you can safely get behind the wheel. The THC in marijuana significantly affects your judgment, memory, coordination and body movements.

Dangerous behaviors

These impairments may cause you to drive in the following ways:

  • Weaving in and out of lanes
  • Braking suddenly
  • Driving significantly slower than the speed limit
  • Responding late to traffic signals
  • Making illegal turns
  • Hitting objects, pedestrians or other cars

If a police officer sees you driving like this, he or she may pull you over and test you for marijuana.

Marijuana and alcohol

It is common to drink alcoholic beverages while smoking marijuana. If you do this, you will experience even more impairment. When you have blood concentrations of both substances, you are at a higher risk of driving dangerously. Alcohol consumption may also increase THC absorption, making the high you experience more intense. 

Because you drive all the time, you may not realize how important it is for you to be as alert as possible. However, you may also face DUI charges unjustly because THC stays in your system for a long time even if you are not currently impaired. Always seek legal advice if you face drugged driving charges. 

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