The acronym DUI stands for Driving Under the Influence and it represents the crime of driving a vehicle while affected by alcohol or other drugs to a level when the driver can’t operate the vehicle safely.
Depending on the state that you are living in, penalties for alcohol and the drugs may differ. For example, in California, penalties for both are the same. Whether you are consuming alcohol, illegal or legal drugs(with or without the prescription), you will end up with a DUI. Actually, the most important thing is the influence that the substance by definition has on your “nervous system, brain or muscles”.
Marijuana in the DUI cases
Marijuana is the most commonly used drug involved in a DUI. Although this drug is legal somewhere, it is not important in the case you are affected by it while driving. Actually, you won’t be charged with Marijuana DUI when you possess this drug (since it can be legal in some cases), but you will if you consumed it.
Marijuana’s effects include sleepiness, memory breakdown, changed sense of time, increased appetite, mood changes, although its effects vary among users. Some may be affected more, while some people don’t feel anything of enumerated.
When police suspect an individual for a Marijuana DUI, DRE’s (Drug Recognition Experts) will first try to spot certain signs of it. Signs may include:
- Red eyes
- Smell of marijuana
- Rapid breathing and heart rate
- Dilated pupils
Afterward, if they feel you are probably impaired, there are some tests that are usually done.
- Blood test. This test detects the presence of THC, also known as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, an active ingredient in cannabis and considered illegal. Although it is commonly used, it can’t reveal the usage of a drug within a couple of hours.
- Urine test. This is the second possibility if you can’t take the blood test for some reason. It also checks the THC level and its inactive metabolites in your body.
- Saliva test. This test is often used in Australia, but it is hard to conduct on the roads.
These tests aren’t always authoritative because THC can stay in the body even up to 30 days after consuming the cannabis. So every chronic user of cannabis, you should wait at least 30 days or more so that THC component will be out of your system. Because you can be charged with the DUI even if you stopped consuming it more than three weeks ago!
Driving under the influence of Marijuana, an individual can be punished with:
- 96 hours – 6 months in jail
- Fine of $390 – $1000
- Six months driver’s license suspension
- Informal/summary probation of 3 – 5 years
- Participation in a drug education class for 3 months
However, penalties vary according to whether it is a first or following conviction. The penalties also differ from the state. For example, the lowest fine is in Arkansas ($150), then in California, Montana, and Georgia ($350), while in Alaska and Texas fine isn’t lower than $1000.
As far as time in prison is concerned, an individual must spend at least 72 hours in prison in Alaska, and in Arizona not less than 10 days! The maximum of jail sentence is 1 year in most of the states.
If on the other hand have your fourth DUI or you caused an accident with bodily injuries or death, a Marijuana DUI elevates to a felony. The potential sentence will include:
- 180 days in jail
- 4-year license suspension
- Five years probation
- Fine up to $5000
- Participation in an alcohol or drug education class for 18 months
Expungement for Marijuana DUI
Most of Marijuana DUI convictions are misdemeanors and are eligible for expungement. The things that are considered are:
- He/she didn’t serve any time in state prison
- He/she completed all terms and conditions of his/her probation
- He/she didn’t commit a subsequent felony
- No criminal charges are pending
As said, Marijuana effects are disputable and also is DUI. If you are among the people who are charged with DUI, you may try to hire a lawyer. The most important thing of all is speaking to a good one. A DUI lawyer knows it all about the defense for each substance and they also know how the judge will act about it, too. Also, the DUI tests evidence can be challenged.
Of course, if you are using Marijuana very often for whatever reasons, you may try to avoid driving for some time. Make sure that you don’t enter the car alone, so you won’t have to turn it on at all. You will surely save yourself from unnecessary hassle with the police and lawyers, and if cannabis affects you much, you will surely save others, too.