If you get caught driving while high on marijuana, your best course of action is to meet with an attorney who will fight for your rights.
DUI laws don’t only apply to drivers who are operating vehicles while under the influence of alcohol. They can also be applied to those who are driving stoned. Whether or not recreational or medical marijuana is legal in your state, driving high on marijuana is a crime that is punishable by law.
DUI Laws and Marijuana
Except for Utah, in all U.S. states, alcohol-impaired driving is defined as driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more. The legal limit in Utah is 0.05 percent. Similarly, some states also have DUI laws that apply to marijuana use.
As of January 2020, it is illegal to drive with any measurable amount of marijuana in your body in 18 U.S. states. Several other states have zero-tolerance laws for driving under the influence of THC or a marijuana metabolite, and others have specific per se laws for THC (meaning it is illegal to drive if the measurable amount of THC in your body exceeds the set legal limit).
Obtaining reliable DUI testing methods for marijuana is still a challenge for law enforcement, but regardless of your ability to drive while under the influence of marijuana, a prosecutor can prove a per se marijuana DUI in court with a blood test that shows you were over the legal limit.
Legal Penalties for Marijuana DUIs
The legal repercussions of a marijuana DUI are generally the same as those for an alcohol-related DUI. However, the consequences may be more lenient if you are a first-time offender.
If you are convicted of a marijuana DUI for the first time:
- You may have to pay a hefty fine (anywhere from $500 to $2,000)
- Your license may be suspended for a set amount of time
- You may be required to attend a substance abuse treatment program, such as an Austin detox program, residential drug rehab, or outpatient program and be put on probation
- You may be sent to jail for up to a year
Marijuana DUI penalties can vary, but if you are convicted of a marijuana DUI and the incident resulted in the injury or death of another driver, passenger, or pedestrian, the legal penalties will likely be more severe.
What to Do If You Get a DUI for Driving High on Marijuana
If you get caught driving while high on marijuana, your best course of action is to meet with an attorney who will fight for your rights. While having a lawyer doesn’t necessarily mean you are off the hook, he or she may be able to negotiate more lenient sentencing depending on the circumstances of the charge(s).
If you are struggling with a substance use disorder, court-ordered treatment may be an effective way for you to achieve lasting sobriety. An Austin sober living home can also provide additional recovery support after you complete the initial phases of treatment.