Can You Get a DUI if you Have Cannabis Inside Your Car?

Since possession of cannabis in a vehicle was illegal in California for quite some time, you might be wondering, “Can you get a DUI if you have cannabis inside your car now?”


The California vehicle code recently changed to align with the changes in cannabis legality in the state. So, while it used to be illegal to have even the smallest amount of cannabis in your car, even if you were driving sober, today it’s legal in some circumstances.


Keep in mind, however, that you may be charged under VC 23222(b) if you don’t fit into the narrowly defined set of circumstances. What happens if you’re found to be driving illegally with cannabis in your car? You’ll still face a penalty, but it won’t be near as severe as the consequence of driving under the influence of cannabis.


When Can You Transport Cannabis in Your Car in California?


In California, it’s legal to use cannabis medically and recreationally. So, to determine when you can transport cannabis in your car in the state, we have to look at VC 23222(b). This section of the vehicle code says that having cannabis in your car is only illegal ‘except as authorized by law.’ This means that if you’re following the laws for legal medical and recreational marijuana use, you can transport cannabis and not be charged with an offense.


But, you can still be charged if:


  • You’re transporting more than 28.5 grams of cannabis

  • You’re under 21 years of age


In these circumstances, expect to face a penalty even if you think that the police won’t do anything. Though marijuana is largely decriminalized now, you may meet an officer who will go strictly by the book.


What are the Penalties for Transporting Cannabis in Your Car?


VC 23222(b) is an infraction, so you won’t face a misdemeanor if you transport cannabis in your car (similar to if you got a speeding ticket). But, expect to pay a fine for this minor offense.


In summary, you won’t get charged with a DUI for having cannabis in your car. But, depending on your situation, you may face a penalty, a fine, and various inconveniences.


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