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Can You Get A DUI For Driving High?

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In Washington, adults aged 21 and over can purchase and consume marijuana recreationally. However, these individuals still need to adhere to state laws regarding cannabis use, especially when it comes to driving.

Contrary to popular belief, it is illegal to drive while high in Washington. In fact, you could face penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) if an officer catches you. Penalties for drugged driving may include jail time, fines, and license suspensions.

What Counts as a Marijuana DUI?

Driving while under the influence of marijuana is very dangerous. While many people mistakenly believe that it is safer than driving while drunk, marijuana significantly impairs many of the functions necessary for safe driving. People who drive while high can cause serious accidents, which is why Washington state imposes strict laws on marijuana use.

According to the Revised Code of Washington 46.61.502, a person is guilty of a marijuana DUI if he or she has a THC concentration of 5.00 nanograms or higher within two hours of driving. THC is the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. 

A person may also be charged with driving under the influence of cannabis if he or she meets any of the following criteria.

  • He or she is under the influence or affected by marijuana while driving.
  • He or she is under the combined influence of marijuana and liquor or any other drug.

How Do Police Officers Test for Drugged Driving?

In Washington, police officers may pull over a driver if they suspect that he or she is under the influence. To test for marijuana intoxication, the officers may perform a roadside field sobriety test. After obtaining a warrant, the officers may also take the suspect to a hospital to have his or her blood drawn and tested for THC levels.

Penalties for a Marijuana DUI in Washington

If you are convicted of driving while under the influence of marijuana, you could face extensive penalties. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, the court may levy the following consequences.

  • Fines between $990.50 to $5,000
  • A minimum jail sentence of 24 hours, up to a maximum of 364 days
  • A driver’s license suspension for at least 90 days
  • Up to five years of probation or court monitoring
  • Mandatory use of an ignition interlock device for a minimum of one year

The court may also impose alternative penalties rather than jail time. If you are convicted of a marijuana DUI for the first time, the court may recommend that you spend 15 days on house arrest, for example. You may also need to participate in a sobriety program.

Speak to a Washington DUI Defense Attorney

A marijuana DUI conviction can impact your life in several ways, from your finances and relationships to your ability to travel freely. If you are facing charges for this crime, it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. 

A Washington DUI defense attorney can represent your side of the story and advocate for your best possible outcome. In some cases, a lawyer could help reduce your potential penalties or request that the court drop the charges altogether. 

As soon as possible following your arrest, contact us to discuss your case confidentially. Your attorney will carefully evaluate your case and help you understand what to expect next. 

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