Note of Advisement
An arrest for driving under the influence of marijuana can have wide ranging effects on your life. While this article provides overview information on DUI marijuana, there is no substitute for consulting with qualified legal representation. If you or a relative has been arrested for marijuana DUI, you should contact an experienced attorney who has handled such cases in your county of arrest.
DUI Marijuana Overview
Being arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana is a complex topic that raises concerns for those involved. Many factors determine the outcome for this type of violation, such as the specifics of your personal case, criminal history and representation.
What penalty is given for this type of offense?
Different states approach penalizing marijuana DUI with various degrees of severity. Punishment of driving under the influence of marijuana in California for a first time offense is a misdemeanor punishable by three to five years of informal probation with the possibility of up to one year in a county jail. A maximum fine of $1,000 (before penalty assessments), attendance of a court approved DUI School, as well as a six-month driver’s license suspension is also typical. A one-year driver’s license suspension would follow if the prosecution involved persons under the age of 21. If the offense results in bodily injury or death, a first time offense can be prosecuted as a felony and punishable by imprisonment in a state penitentiary.
Approximately ten states (Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Utah and Wisconsin) have enforced a “zero tolerance” per se law which prohibits motorists from operating a vehicle with any detectable level of a controlled substance in their systems, and some have gone even further by prohibiting the metabolites of a substance (Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana and Utah). This means that you may be charged with driving under the influence of marijuana under these state laws whether or not you are impaired.
Most states will add drug possession charges to the indictment if marijuana was found on the driver’s person or in the vehicle at the time of the arrest. A passenger in possession in marijuana may also lead to additional charges.
Marijuana and DUI Lawyer
If you have been arrested for DUI Marijuana, you should contact a lawyer in the area of your arrest. Proving that you were under the influence of marijuana while operating a vehicle can be intricate. The arresting officer will be able to testify as to your driving pattern, physical appearance and field sobriety test at the time of arrest; however they are unable to determine drug levels at this time. You must submit to further testing to prove that marijuana is in your system, but that will not reveal if you were experiencing altering effects at the time in question.
Unlike an alcohol DUI, it is difficult to prove that you were under the influence of marijuana at the time of arrest. When testing for marijuana in the blood stream, the levels of THC remain in your system long after the effects have expired. There is no definitive way to prove you were driving under the influence of marijuana.
Having a professional lawyer on your side is the best way to explore your options and decide which defense is right for you.