Marijuana legalization has become a hot topic in recent years, with more and more states across the US legalizing its use for medical and recreational purposes. However, with this newfound freedom comes a responsibility to ensure it is used safely and responsibly.
One area of concern is marijuana use while driving, as it can impair one’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. The question is, can you be arrested for marijuana intoxication while driving? The answer is yes.
While marijuana laws vary from state to state, most have strict rules against driving while under the influence of marijuana. This article will look at the legal ramifications of using drugs and the possible penalties. So, buckle up and read on to learn more about the laws surrounding marijuana use and driving.
How Can an Officer Determine if You Are Intoxicated
The first test an officer will do is the field sobriety test. The field sobriety test is a series of questions and observations that officers use to determine if you are under the influence of drugs. However, the field sobriety test is not an exact science, and no set number of errors will indicate that you are intoxicated.
The officer will ask you to perform specific tasks, such as walking heel-to-toe, standing on one leg, and counting backward from 100 by 7s. The officer will also ask you to do simple skills like reading a license plate or putting on your glasses.
These tests determine whether or not drugs impair the driver. If you fail these tests, then it means that you could be charged with driving under the influence.
What Are the Marijuana DUI Laws?
Marijuana DUI laws vary by state. However, it’s illegal to operate a vehicle under the influence of marijuana.
In some states, “per se” laws set a specific limit for THC (the psychoactive compound in marijuana) that can be in a driver’s blood.
Other states do not have specific THC limits and instead rely on other factors to determine if a driver is impaired, such as field sobriety tests and observations by law enforcement officers.
However, you should note that the effects of marijuana on driving can vary depending on several factors, such as;
- The potency of the marijuana,
- The method of consumption and the
- Individual’s tolerance level.
Therefore, it’s important not to drive after consuming marijuana, even if you think you’re not impaired.
What Should You Do After Being Arrested for DUI Intoxication
If you are arrested for marijuana intoxication, staying calm and cooperating with law enforcement officers is essential. Here are some steps you can take:
- Don’t admit guilt: It’s important to remember that law enforcement officers can use what you say against you in court. Therefore, it’s best to avoid admitting guilt or providing any incriminating statements.
- Contact an attorney: It’s essential to contact an experienced marijuana DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney can advise you on your legal options, protect your rights, and represent you in court.
- Understand the charges: Your attorney can help you understand the charges you are facing, the potential penalties, and the legal process. They can also help you develop a defense strategy based on the facts of your case.
- Follow court orders: If you are released on bail or bond, it’s essential to follow all court orders and appear at all scheduled court appearances. Please do so to avoid additional charges and penalties.
- Avoid substance use: It’s important to avoid using substances that could impair your judgment or affect your case, including marijuana, alcohol, and prescription drugs.
Did you know that in 2018 at least one in eight high school students drove under the influence of marijuana in the previous month?
What are the penalties?
States have different laws regarding driving under the influence of marijuana. They can depend on several factors, including the driver’s blood THC level, whether you caused an accident or injuries, and if it’s a first or repeat offense.
The penalties for a marijuana DUI conviction can include:
- Suspension or revocation of driver’s license
- Mandatory drug education or treatment/rehab programs,
- Community service
- Jail time
Repeat offenders or those who cause serious injury or death may face more severe penalties.
For example, Phoenix has a maximum ten-day prison sentence and a five-year probationary period as a penalty for a first-time marijuana DUI conviction. If you are found guilty of a second crime, you might spend at least 30 days in jail and then receive a probationary sentence of up to five years. In contrast, in California, a first-time marijuana DUI conviction can result in up to six months in jail, fines up to $1,000, license suspension for up to six months, and required drug education or treatment program completion.
It’s important to remember that driving under the influence of any substance, including marijuana, can be dangerous and put yourself and others at risk. It’s always better to find a sober driver or alternative transportation if you have consumed any substances that could impair your driving abilities.
Hire the Best Marijuana DUI Lawyer
If you have been charged with DUI based on your use or possession of marijuana, then you may want to seek legal representation immediately. If there is evidence that someone else was responsible for your actions, those charges may not hold up in court. In addition, if your case involves a medical condition such as PTSD or depression, a marijuana DUI lawyer will know how best to defend against these charges.