What Happens If I’m Charged with a Marijuana DUI?

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:

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Everything You Need to Know About Marijuana Blood Tests

Over the past few years, quite a few states have legalized marijuana for medical and recreational use. With this legalization, police officers needed a way to test drivers who appeared to be too stoned to drive.

This, in turn, has made the marijuana blood test the go-to way to check for impairment during a traffic stop.

Roadside tests and demonstrated impairment still play a role and assessment by a Drug Recognition Expert is now common. But most police departments attempt to verify these results with a blood test. If the allegedly impaired driver has more than the state’s per se limit (often 1 to 5 ng/mL of THC), a DUI conviction usually becomes much more likely.

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Cops, Science Still Can’t Figure Out Marijuana DUIs

If you’re a sick person with a recommendation from a physician, medical marijuana is legal for you in Arizona. Driving a motor vehicle—not so much. Not if you smoke weed.

Arizona has a “zero-tolerance” policy for “drugged-driving,” which means that any trace of cannabis in the body is grounds for an automatic DUI. And since cannabis has the distinction of being fat-soluble —as opposed to alcohol, caffeine, cocaine and just about everything else, which are water-soluble and ergo expelled via urine or sweat within days of use—traces of marijuana can stay in the body for days or weeks after the effects of THC have worn off.

The rules around driving and marijuana in Nevada, where voters in November approved legal recreational cannabis, are only slightly less strict.

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