Medical Marijuana and Driving Under the Influence
There are currently more than 30 states in the United States that allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Under these laws, if you have a prescription, you are allowed to buy marijuana from an authorized dispensary and use it legally within the state. However, many of these states have not legalized the use of recreational marijuana. Driving or operating a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana is also illegal.
The prohibition on driving while under the influence of marijuana applies equally to recreational users and to users with medical prescriptions. Most states driving under the influence laws have no exception for users of medical marijuana and do not distinguish them from recreational users for the purposes of the law.
Furthermore, unlike with alcohol, which has a legal and an illegal limit while driving, any amount of drugs in a person’s system can lead to a DUI charge.
Amount of Drugs Does Not Matter
The prosecution does not have to show a specific amount of drugs in a person’s system in order to get a conviction for a DUI; they just have to show that there were drugs in the accused’s system at the time of arrest. The police can test your urine and, in some cases, blood after your arrest to gather evidence to show that you had drugs in your system. However, because marijuana can be detected in a person’s system up to 30 days after use, it can be difficult for the prosecution to show when the marijuana was consumed.
Although each state has its own DUI laws, generally, the consequences for drugged driving varies from six months to three years in prison, depending on whether or not the defendant has been convicted of a DUI in the past 10 years before the current conviction. There are also fines of between $500 and $8,000 that may be applicable. Drivers also lose their licenses for a year for first offenders, three years for second-time convictions, and permanent revocation of the license for any number of DUI convictions over two.
In addition, the court may order community service for first offenders; community service is often mandatory for subsequent offenders. A judge may also order the defendant to pay for monetary damages where appropriate (this is also referred to as “restitution”).
Therefore, while it may be necessary for you to use marijuana under prescription, you should not drive after doing so. Avoid arrest and the serious criminal penalties that may follow by using a different driver.
Contact a Drug Crimes Attorney
If you are charged with a drug crime, you need a criminal defense attorney who has dealt with multiple drug cases at both the state and federal level fighting for you. Contact an experienced DUI lawyer in Fairfax, VA today to set up a free and confidential initial consultation. Do not wait. The sooner they can begin working on your defense, the better chances for a positive outcome are.
For more info call May Law, LLP for their insight into criminal law and medical marijuana while driving.