Being Charged With A Marijuana-Related DUI

The fact that you can be arrested for DUI if you choose to consume alcohol and get behind the wheel of a car is a fact that most everyone is aware of. However, with more and more states choosing to legalize marijuana either for recreational or medicinal use, it is important for individuals to understand that DUI laws do not simply apply to alcohol-related offenses. 

Whether or not marijuana is legal or not in your specific state is of no consequence. This is because the law maintains a zero-tolerance policy for driving under the influence of any substance which can impair your ability to drive safely, even if that substance is legal for you to possess and consume.

The Burden Of Proof

Proving that someone is under the influence of alcohol is relatively easy for law enforcement officers. To get the information they need they must simply require the individual to take a breathalyzer in order to confirm how much alcohol is in their system. Things are a little trickier when it comes to marijuana-related DUI offenses.

There are two different types of marijuana-related DUI offenses that you can be charged with depending upon the specific laws in your state.

The first of these offenses is referred to as a per se offense. What this means is that you are accused of exceeding the legal limit of THC in your bloodstream while operating a motor vehicle. Not all states have per se laws in place since proving the exact amount of THC in someone's bloodstream can be complicated even through the use of blood work.

The second type of offense is referred to as an impairment offense. In order to convict you of this type of DUI offense, the prosecution needs to simply demonstrate that you were in fact under the influence of marijuana at the time you were operating a vehicle and that this influence impaired your ability to drive safely.

Exploring Potential Penalties

If you are found guilty of a marijuana-related DUI, the penalties you will face are the same as a defendant who has been charged with an alcohol-related DUI. These penalties include the suspension of your driving privileges, fines, and potential jail time. 

An experienced DUI lawyer can help you to present a defense in your case and help to secure a more favorable outcome in the event that you are convicted. For instance, a lawyer can often help first-time offenders to secure probation rather than be required to serve any jail time. 

Contact a local DUI lawyer to learn more about your options.