Recreational cannabis is quickly being legalized across the United States, but users who consume marijuana may still be charged with a crime if they drive under the influence. Here are a few facts that everyone should know about driving while high in states with legalized cannabis. If you find yourself facing a criminal charge, DUII lawyers are available to provide counsel.
It’s Illegal to Drive While Impaired
It doesn’t matter if you’re under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, or something else: it’s illegal to operate a vehicle while impaired. If you have been using cannabis, you shouldn’t plan to operate a vehicle, as you can have delayed reaction times, experience sleepiness, underestimate risk, or otherwise operate the vehicle less safely than you normally would.
You Can Be Charged, Even if you can’t be Breathalyzed
Officers cannot test for cannabis with a breathalyzer, so if you’re pulled over and the officer believes that you are high, they’ll look for other physical signs. If you seem paranoid or disoriented, have red, dilated, or glazed-over eyes, tremors, or smell like marijuana, the officer may reasonably infer that you’re driving under the influence.
It’s a Serious Charge
Every state has different DUII laws, and they prosecute driving under the influence of marijuana differently. In states where recreational cannabis use is legal, driving while high is often a misdemeanor charge for a first-time offence. As with an alcohol-related DUI, you may have to pay fines, may have your license suspended, or may need to do some jail time. For a third-time offence, you may be facing a felony charge.
Contact a DUII lawyer if you’ve been formally charged.
Because the laws surrounding recreational marijuana use are still in their infancy, officers have a lot of discretion when determining whether or not an individual has been driving while high. As a result, many individuals may be charged with a DUII even if they aren’t under the influence. For example, if a driver is pulled over and has cannabis in their possession or smells of marijuana but isn’t under the influence, they run the risk of a DUII charge.
Be sure to keep abreast of changing DUII laws. If you are charged with driving under the influence of marijuana, contact a DUII law firm in your area. Remember, you have the right to remain silent until you have a criminal attorney present.