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New Zero-Tolerance Law Introduced in the State Senate


In June of 2012, I wrote about Assemblywoman, Norma Torres’s proposed zero-tolerance marijuana DUI law, AB 2552. The law would have made it illegal to drive with any measurable amount of marijuana in their systems. Fortunately the bill was eventually defeated, although it wasn’t without its successor.

Senator Lou Correa of Santa Ana has introduced Senate Bill 289 which would make it illegal to drive with any measurable amount of drugs in their system, unless the person has a prescription for it. The proposed law would also exclude people found with medical marijuana in their systems whom have a valid prescription. The bill would add the following language to California’s current DUI laws:

“It is unlawful for a person to drive a vehicle if his or her blood contains any detectible amount of a drug classified in Schedule I, II, III, or IV under the California Uniform Controlled Substances Act… unless the drug was consumed in accordance with a valid prescription issued to the person by a licensed health care practitioner.”

While people may still be charged with a DUI if they are driving under the influence, the bill would allow prosecutors to charge sober individuals who have trace amounts of drugs in their system well after the “high” is gone.  As was the problem with Torres’s proposed law, a person could be charged with a DUI of marijuana weeks under SB 289, sometimes months after having smoked and well after the person was “under the influence.” Other drugs may not stay in the system as long marijuana, but they too can stay in the system well after the person has sobered up.

Another problem with the proposed law is that someone can get charged with a DUI if they drive after taking some cough syrups even if their driving ability remains unaffected. Common pain and fever reducers also land within the prohibited schedules of drugs. I can’t imagine the majority of people not being able to safely operate a vehicle after taking many of the prohibited drugs.

Not surprisingly, supporters of the bill are those who will benefit from it. Supporters include the California State Sheriffs Association, the California Police Chiefs Association, and the California Narcotics Officers Association.

SB 289 would have the blanket effect of punishing and drug intoxicated individuals and sober individuals alike. If the purpose of the proposed law is to make the streets of California safer, SB 289 clearly misses the mark.

The post New Zero-Tolerance Law Introduced in the State Senate appeared first on Law Offices of Taylor and Taylor - DUI Central.

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