Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana
Penalties for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can vary considerably from state to state. In some states, the offense can lead to losing your driver's license for a specific period of time in addition to fines or other penalties. Unlike alcohol, it is difficult to determine whether a person is under the influence of marijuana. To understand the law, it is important to first understand how someone can be convicted of driving under the influence of marijuana.
First OffensesIn Colorado, a state where marijuana is legal for recreational use, a driver is considered impaired, or driving under the influence, if the THC level in his blood are greater than 5ng/ml. All drivers must submit to testing as requested by a police officer, or the person may lose his license as a result of the refusal.
In states where marijuana is illegal, drivers must also submit to drug testing if a police officer suspects you are driving under the influence. Failure to submit to testing can lead to losing your license, even if the charges are dropped in court, but the penalties can vary significantly depending on the state you live in.
For instance, people living in Springfield Missouri may lose their license for 90 days and be charged with fines for a first offense. Typically, first offenders face one or more of the following penalties:
- People convicted of DWI may lose their license for 90 days or longer.
- Fines, which vary by state.
- Some people may have to complete community service.
- Mandatory rehabilitation therapy or successful completion of drug court.
- In states where marijuana is illegal, the person may face time in jail if marijuana is found in the vehicle.
- Some states, including Colorado, enforce a minimum jail sentence for first time offenders convicted of driving under the influence of marijuana
Second and Additional OffensesPenalties are usually harsher for repeat offenders. For instance, in Colorado, people with a second DWI may have their license revoked for one year in addition to jail time, community service and fines. Not all states have clear policies what happens when a driver is charged with driving under the influence of marijuana.
For instance, it is hard to prove that someone is impaired without a blood test, which can be difficult to administer during a routine traffic stop. If you are facing charges of driving under the influence of marijuana, a local Springfield Missouri attorney can help you understand or fight the charges.