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Driving in Possession of Marijuana

Apr 23, 2021 | Drug Possession

Is It a Violation of the Law to Drive in Possession of Marijuana?

Per California Vehicle Code 23222 VC it is a crime for a driver to operate their vehicle while in possession of an open container of marijuana. However, a qualified patient with a valid prescription would not be in violation of Vehicle Code 23222 VC.

What are the Punishment for Vehicle Code 23222 VC?

A Vehicle Code 23222 VC offense is charged as an infraction. The punishment for Vehicle Code 23222 VC include:

  • fine of not more than $100

Is It a Violation to Drive with a Closed Container of Marijuana?

No, California law actually allows a driver of a vehicle to transport a closed or otherwise sealed container of marijuana.

Where Does This Restriction Apply?

The unlawful operation of a car while in possession of an open container of marijuana only applies to public roads, such as streets and highways. Therefore, possessing an open container on private roads such as a driveway does not count for purposes of Vehicle Code 23222 VC.

Can A Police Officer Search Inside Your Car?

A police officer can only search an individual’s car if:

  • The police officer has a valid search warrant that has been signed off by a presiding judge; or
  • The police officer is authorized to do so because a valid search warrant exception applies.

What Happens if the Police Officer Does an Unlawful Search Inside the Car?

Should a police officer do an unlawful search and then find marijuana inside the car, that marijuana, which is deemed to be evidence, can be excluded for purposes of the case. Additionally, the case may also be dropped as a result of an unlawful search.

Related Marijuana Crimes

Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or someone you know has been charged with Vehicle Code 23222 VC or any other related drug crimes, we invite you to contact our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys at 310-933-5171.