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Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana

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In Washington state, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs — including marijuana. Driving while under the influence of this substance can lead to severe consequences, including serious injury, death, and thousands of dollars in property damage. If you receive a conviction for this crime, the penalties can be equally severe.

Washington Marijuana DUI Laws

Driving while under the influence of marijuana or any other substance is a crime in Washington, and law enforcement officers may stop you on suspicion of DUI at any time. To charge you with driving under the influence of marijuana, law enforcement will need to check how much marijuana is in your system.

For drinking and driving cases, law enforcement officers determine whether or not you are driving under the influence based on your blood alcohol content (BAC).

For marijuana DUIs, law enforcement officers examine the concentration of tetrahydrocannabinols (THC), or the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. You must have a THC concentration in your blood of 5 nanograms per milliliter to receive a marijuana DUI charge.

By operating a motor vehicle, you give your implied consent to a blood or breath test for marijuana, alcohol, or other drugs. Failure to take a blood or breath test when the officer stops you under suspicion of DUI will result in additional consequences.

Penalties for Drugged Driving in Washington

If you are arrested for drugged driving in Washington, you can face serious penalties depending on your number of previous offenses or the severity of the drugged driving incident.

Depending on the nature of your case, you could face jail time, fines, and more. In addition to the following penalties, Washington requires any individual convicted of a DUI to pay a $200 fee for the cost of the drug test.

  • For a first drugged driving offense, you can face imprisonment between 1 day to 1 year and a fine between $350 to $5,000. You could also face a 90-day license suspension and a mandatory ignition interlock device installation.
  • For a second offense within 7 years of your first offense, you can face between 30 days to 1 year in prison, along with 60 days of electronic monitoring. You could face between $500 to $5,000 in fines, and a license revocation for up to 2 years. In addition, you may have to install an ignition interlock device and law enforcement could seize your vehicle.
  • Third and subsequent offenses within 7 years are subject to between 90 days to 1 year in prison, along with 120 days of electronic monitoring. You could face fines between $1,000 to $5,000, along with a 3-year license revocation. You could face seizure of your vehicle and ignition interlock installation as well.

Do You Need an Attorney for a Washington Marijuana DUI?

If you are facing criminal charges for driving under the influence of marijuana, you need a criminal defense attorney on your side. Hiring a lawyer to represent your case can increase your chances of seeing a favorable outcome, and provide a number of unique benefits for your case.

  • Crafting a defense for your case requires access to a wide range of resources, such as evidence labs, surveillance footage, and expert witnesses who can provide testimony during your trial. You may not have access to these resources, but your attorney will likely have a wide network available to assist with your case.
  • Many criminal cases conclude before proceeding to trial, reaching a resolution during negotiations with the prosecution. Your attorney will have the knowledge and negotiation skills necessary to evaluate each of your legal options and negotiate for the most favorable outcome during this period.
  • Navigating Washington’s criminal justice system can be difficult without experience and legal knowledge. Your attorney will understand this system and its intricacies, helping advise you on what to expect and how to best prepare.

When your future is at stake, a DUI defense attorney is an important investment. If you have not done so already, contact your lawyer as soon as possible following your arrest to discuss your next steps.

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