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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Tiger Woods Episode Reveals Drugged Driving Is a Bigger Problem than Stoned Driving

First: Tiger Woods did the right thing.

Last week, the greatest golfer of our time, now 41 years old, many years and four back surgeries removed from owning a sport and A-list celebrity status, started to feel sleepy while driving around near his Florida home—the hangover from a pharmaceutical cocktail, including Vicodin, prescribed after his most recent surgery in April.

He had just enough presence of mind to pull over to the side of the road before he passed out. If he’d only remembered to turn the car off before falling asleep while still in the driver’s seat—where police found him before sunrise on Memorial Day morning, engine running, brake light and turn signals on—Tiger Woods may have escaped the ignominy of failing roadside sobriety tests (he had a blood-alcohol count of 0.00 but copped to being overwhelmed by the pills), being slapped with a DUI charge and having his bleary-eyed mugshot printed on every sports page in the country.

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Investment Company Predicts Success of Effective Marijuana Breathalyzer

Although many companies have tried and failed throughout the years to create a legitimate roadside detection method for gauging marijuana impairment, a recent multi-million dollar investment in Breathalyzer technology could be an indication that an effective test is on the horizon.

According to a report from Business Insider, Silicon Valley’s Benchmark Capital, the venture capital firm that took early chances on Uber, Snap and Dropbox, has thrown more than $8 million at Oakland-based startup Hound Labs to get its new marijuana Breathalyzer off the ground.

Hound Labs made headlines back in 2014 when the company revealed that it had successfully produced the first-ever marijuana Breathalyzer that police would be able to use to “determine if an individual is impaired from recent marijuana use.”

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Radical Rant: Curing Vermont Governor’s Fear of Stoned Drivers

An open letter to Vermont Gov. Phil Scott:

Dear Gov. Scott,

On your desk is a bill passed by Vermont’s legislature, which has become the first in the nation to pass marijuana legalization without a citizen’s initiative. This would make Vermont the ninth state in the nation to end adult cannabis prohibition. You’ve stated that you’re not ideologically opposed to marijuana legalization.

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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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Should Marijuana Possession Cause Loss of Driving Privileges?

Virginia lawmakers are pushing a piece of modest marijuana reform this session that would eliminate the possibility of a person losing their driver’s license based on a conviction for marijuana possession.

According to a report from Capital News Service, there has been some action in the House and Senate to eliminate that pesky portion of the state’s current law that insists a person should not be allowed the privilege of operating a motor vehicle if they happen to get busted holding a little weed.

Last week, in a vote of 38-to-2, the Senate approved a measure supported by Democratic Senator Adam Ebbin and Republican Senator Bill Stanley intended to change this portion of the law. A House version of the bill, filed by Delegate Les Adams, also made some progress—successfully finding its way out of meeting with a leading subcommittee.

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Smoking Bud At the Wheel is (Kind Of) Legal in California

California’s DUI laws already outlaw cannabis intoxication at the wheel, and Prop 64 (the state’s recently adopted adult use legalization law) explicitly bans “open containers” of marijuana in a moving car. But two state legislators say a loophole in 64, coupled with imprecise and unreliable testing methods for marijuana DUI, makes smoking weed behind the wheel (technically) legal. They’ve introduced legislation that would explicitly ban lighting up on the road.

Cannabis became legal for all adults 21 and over in California on Election Day when California voters approved Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. AUMA legalized cannabis, but it also banned “open containers” of marijuana in a vehicle, including automobiles, boats and aircraft.

Lawyers interpret this to mean something similar to having an open container of alcohol. So if there’s a burning joint, a pipe in between passes or a glowing dab rig in your car, you could be in trouble.

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