Can You Get A DUI for Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana?
Many of us associate driving under the influence (DUI) with being arrested for getting behind the wheel after consuming too much alcohol. But it’s also possible to get a DUI when using other substances that impair the ability to drive safely, including marijuana. Marijuana contains delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a substance that can impair judgment and motor coordination, slow down reaction times and affect the ability to concentrate.
Some research studies indicate that driving while high can double the risk of causing an accident. Drivers who are impaired by marijuana may exhibit conduct such as swerving, weaving between lanes, driving too slowly, running stop signs or red lights or falling asleep at the wheel. Police officers who suspect someone of driving under the influence of marijuana will have the individual take a blood or urine test to determine the level of THC in the system.
How Do DUI Laws Apply to Marijuana in PA?
In PA, you can get a DUI for driving high. Under the state’s DUI laws, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of any Schedule 1 substance, which includes marijuana or THC metabolite. The legal threshold for THC in the blood system in Pennsylvania is one ng/mL. This standard applies whether the individual is using marijuana for recreational or medical reasons.
Marijuana DUI Penalties
Driving while high in PA can have severe legal consequences. The penalties also increase with each offense:
- First offense: An initial conviction for driving under the influence of marijuana is a misdemeanor that carries a minimum prison term of 72 consecutive hours and a maximum of six months. Offenders can also receive a fine ranging from $1000 to $5000 and lose their driving privileges for 18 months. They must attend alcohol highway safety school and a victim impact panel and complete 150 hours of community service.
- Second offense: A second DUI marijuana conviction is also a misdemeanor that carries a prison term ranging from 90 days to six months and a fine of not less than $1500. Additionally, offenders must attend alcohol highway safety school, complete 150 hours of community service and attend a victim impact panel. They’ll also receive an 18-month driver’s license suspension.
- Third and subsequent offense: All succeeding convictions for driving while high are second-degree misdemeanors that include a mandatory minimum sentence of one year in jail, a fine of at least $2500 and a license suspension of no less than 18 months. The court may also require the offender to attend alcohol highway safety school and a victim impact panel.
Drivers may refuse to submit to a chemical test for driving under the influence of marijuana when requested to do so by a law enforcement officer. However, under Pennsylvania’s implied consent laws, the refusal can result in an automatic driver’s license suspension of up to 18 months.
Marijuana DUI Defense in PA
Retaining the services of a capable DUI lawyer is crucial after an arrest for driving under the influence of marijuana. A skilled attorney can mount an effective legal defense by uncovered indications of flawed testing procedures or other potential violations of your rights. A lawyer can also find the path that will lead to the best outcome in a given situation.
If you’ve been arrested and charged with DUI marijuana in the York, PA, area, contact MPL Law Firm right away. We’ll take the time to listen to assess your unique needs and provide the personalized representation you deserve. Contact us to schedule a consultation today.