Washington may have legalized marijuana many years ago but it does not allow driving under the influence of the substance. A DUI for marijuana carries the same penalties as one for alcohol. If you are arrested for a marijuana DUI you will be faced with an administrative proceeding in the Washington Department of Licensing as well as the criminal case. If you are convicted for a first offense in the criminal court you could lose your driver’s license. You may also have to pay fines of $350 to $1000, spend one to 364 days in jail or be subjected to court ordered drug rehabilitation.
Field Sobriety Tests and Blood Tests for Marijuana
If a police officer finds probable cause for a DUI stop and suspects marijuana impairment they will assess your demeanor and look for signs. These include the smell of marijuana, bloodshot eyes, or marijuana present in the car. The officer will most likely administer a field sobriety test. An officer who is trained as a ‘drug recognition expert’ may be called to the scene to administer the test. If you appear too intoxicated to drive you can be arrested. You should be advised of your rights concerning giving blood for a lab test. Under Washington’s Implied Consent laws you will face harsh consequences, including a minimum license suspension of one year, if you refuse the test. The officer can then apply for a search warrant to get a sample of your blood to determine the concentration of marijuana in your system.
Marijuana Impairment in Washington
In Washington the level of marijuana currently considered to be a legal impairment is 5ng of THC per milliliter of blood. Marijuana can remain in your system for a prolonged period of time. You may not feel intoxicated but you could still test above the legal limit. Some studies have shown that heavy users of marijuana can test at 5ng/ml from 24 hours up to an astonishing 129 hours after the last ingestion of the substance.
Defenses to Drug DUI Charges
An experienced DUI lawyer can present many defenses to a Drug DUI charge including challenging the validity of the traffic stop, the accuracy and timing of any testing, the expertise of the officer as a drug recognition expert as well as whether or not your driving was actually legally impaired by marijuana. If you have questions about a marijuana DUI please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (253) 236- 4079.
If you have questions about your case, please contact us at Info@brumleylawfirm.com or (253) 236-4079.