A Helpful Ideas To Understand Marijuana DUI In Houston
It is common knowledge that you can get a DUI for driving under the influence of alcohol. But what is unclear yet is if DUI laws also apply to driving under the influence of marijuana? What are the implications if you legally used marijuana?
The truth is driving under the influence of marijuana is a legal offense crime in every state. Even if recreational marijuana use is legal in your state or you have a medical prescription thereby legalizing your use, it still doesn’t matter and you can be charged with a marijuana-related DUI.
How Do DUI Rules Apply To Marijuana
Getting behind the steering wheel of a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that exceeds 0.07% will get you changed with a “per se” DUI.
In simpler terms, states that have “per se” DUI laws have rules that ban driving with a particular amount of THC (the psychoactive component of marijuana) in your blood. These DUI laws have rendered it illegal to drive while under the influence of marijuana (or any other drug).
THC levels and impairment are what prosecutors must prove to get a DUI conviction.
Per Se Marijuana DUIs
For a prosecutor to prove a per se marijuana DUI, they would have to produce results from a blood test indicating that the driver was intoxicated beyond the legal limit.
If a prosecutor can do that, it matters less if the driver’s driving capacity was actually affected by their intoxication. A per se conviction is simply based on the THC concentration in the driver’s system.
While nearly every state has impairment DUI laws, not all of them understand “impairment” in the same terms. Evidence that marijuana (or any other drug) inhibited the driver’s motor abilities in any way is more than enough reason for a conviction in several states.
In other states, however, the prosecutor must show evidence that there was a “significant” or “substantial” effect from the consumed substance. Proof of impairment often results from the arresting officer’s observations of things such as:
- Slow or slurred speech
- Failure of field sobriety test (FST) performance
- Strange conduct
- Impaired driving
Marijuana DUI Penalties
The penalties/fines for a DUI involving marijuana are similar to those stipulated under an alcohol-related DUI charge. The ramifications for a first-time offender may include:
- A fine anywhere between $500 to $2,000
- The driver may have their driver’s license suspended for three months to a year.
- A single term of probation.
- Mandatory substance abuse treatment.
- Up to a year in jail. A lot of first-time offenders, however, usually don’t do that much jail time.
Keep in mind that laws vary with state and there are plenty of factors that can affect the final ruling. For example, an offender who has never been in trouble with the law before may have more lenient sentencing as compared to an offender with a history of criminal offenses on their record. Enhanced penalties also usually apply for DUIs that involve death or injuries.
Getting Legal Help
If you are ever arrested for a DUI, make sure that you get in touch with a qualified lawyer. A DUI attorney with the right experience will let you know how the law applies to the matters involving your case and will help you chart a route on how you can best defend yourself against the charges.