While there are some major differences in the way police handle cannabis-impaired driving and drunk driving, most court systems hand down similar consequences for both offenses. If the court convicts you for driving while under the influence of marijuana, you can expect the ramifications to include a license suspension, a drug and alcohol awareness class, fines, probation and even jail time.
However, the way the prosecution will build their case against you is very different with stoned driving. They cannot simply conduct a breath test after pulling you over to determine if you used cannabis recently.
For example, in Washington State, police have two options for proving a driver is under the influence of marijuana. These options are:
Observing signs, conducting field tests, and bringing in an officer trained in drug recognition; or
Conducting a marijuana blood test to determine whether the driver is over the per se limit of 5 ng/mL.
What happens if I’m charged with a marijuana DUI?
As soon as possible after your stoned driving arrest, contact a local DUID lawyer to help you navigate the legal process, fight the charges against you and ensure your constitutional rights remain protected. Another important action you can take is to write down everything you can remember about the traffic stop, your interactions with the police, your arrest and testing, and any other related details. This can help your attorney build a stronger defense in your case.
While processes vary somewhat between different jurisdictions, you can expect to attend a/an:
Administrative Law Hearing
Most states take administrative action quickly following an arrest for stoned driving. This action revokes your driver’s license for at least 90 days in many states, even longer in some areas.
To fight this revocation or to get a conditional license allowing you to drive to work or school, you need to schedule a hearing in front of an administrative law judge. Often, the time limit to set this hearing is a matter of days following your arrest, so it pays to act quickly.
Evidentiary hearings occur when your lawyer files motions to challenge the evidence against you. While they do not occur in every case, there are many things your attorney should investigate about any traffic stop and stoned driving arrest. This often includes the accuracy of the blood test, the testing procedures, if there are any questions about chain of custody for your blood sample and other technical questions about blood testing.
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