Burbank police officers recently arrested "Shameless" actor Ethan Cutkosky for Driving Under the Influence. TMZ.com reported that officers smelled marijuana coming from Ethan's vehicle after they stopped him for straddling traffic lanes. Ethan reportedly did not perform well on the field sobriety tests and was arrested for DUI. A blood test was later taken, which will be tested for the presence of marijuana, as well as possibly alcohol or other drugs. Based on the publicly reported information, it appears that Ethan will be charged with Vehicle Code Section 23152(f), which makes it unlawful to drive while under the influence of any drug. If the toxicology results from the blood test also show a measurable amount of alcohol he could be charged with violating Vehicle Code Section 23152(g), which makes it unlawful for a person who is under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug to drive a vehicle.
As with every DUI case, there are number of specific items that a good DUI lawyer will look at in a DUI marijuana case. Unlike the law regarding DUI and alcohol, which presumes that you are DUI if your blood alcohol content is .08 or greater, there is no "per se" THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) amount, which automatically presumes that your ability to drive is impaired. Police officers need to look at other factors, including driving pattern, objective symptoms of impairment, performance on field sobriety tests, and evaluation by a drug recognition expert (DRE).
Hopefully the toxicology results do not show any alcohol in Ethan's blood, which would add additional problems to the situation. Since he is only 18 years old he is subject to California's "zero tolerance law" for driver's under 21 years of age. Vehicle Code Section 23136 makes it "unlawful for a person under the age of 21 years who has a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.01 percent or greater, as measured by a preliminary alcohol screening test or other chemical test, to drive a vehicle." Drivers under 21 years of age that are found by DMV to be in violation of this section will have their driver's licenses suspended for one year (assuming it is a first offense).
Based on the information available to the public, unless prosecutors reject the case due to insufficient evidence, it appears that this will be a misdemeanor DUI case since it does not involve an injury/accident and Ethan does not have any prior DUI convictions. Just like anyone else in this situation, Ethan should hire an experienced and knowledgeable Los Angeles DUI lawyer. The case will be filed at the Burbank Courthouse and will be prosecuted by the Burbank City Attorney's Office. The Burbank prosecutors are very knowledgeable about DUI law, which makes it even more important for someone arrested for DUI in Burbank to have a good lawyer, one who specializes in DUI defense. If you have been arrested for DUI, call Berglund Law Office, P.C. at (323) 374-3520 or submit our CONTACT form today.