23 May Does A Marijuana DUI Have The Same Penalties As An Alcohol DUI?
In states where marijuana for recreational use has been legalized, there are new issues coming to light that have probably not been widely known before. The standard DUI stop in most states involved alcohol, simply because far more people broke the law in that regard than using other substances that would impair their judgment. When you look at the total population of an area, the percentage of that population that uses drugs or illicit substances is very small compared to the percentage of the population that drinks alcohol. This translates to DUI stops pretty dramatically as there are the small percentage of people who know they are breaking the law, and also the much larger percentage of people who were not sure if they were breaking the law. Many DUI stops involve people who simply misjudged their ability to drive after having a moderate amount of alcohol. The fact that you will “feel ok to drive” long before you will actually test below the legal limit for blood alcohol content leads many people to break the law inadvertently, thinking that they had not had enough alcohol to actually put them over the limit. They might have not waited long enough after their last drink, or they may have never felt drunk at all. When they get pulled over and fail the field sobriety tests, they learn that they were breaking the law by driving. This consideration is probably why the punishments for the first DUI conviction are relatively light compared to the second or third convictions. You are given the benefit of the doubt that you made a mistake, and assumed that you will lean not to make it again.
Marijuana consumption is generally pretty easy to assess as criminal in states where it is not legal. The simple existence of marijuana in your car will lead to arrest in those areas. But areas where recreational marijuana is legal is different and the arrest will generally be for using it to the point of intoxication then driving. The issues arise with establishing the rules as far as intoxication, so that people can understand them and only drive once they are under the legal limit. When it comes to alcohol, there are tried and true methods of gauging your BAC based on some assumptions, like if you are a normal sized person. You will purge a drink about every hour, so many people who drink in bars and at parties will know that they have to wait an hour after every drink before they can safely drive, even if they feel ok. With marijuana, since different strains have different strengths and little consistency, it is very difficult to say how much marijuana you can smoke and how long you would have to wait to drive. As a general rule of safety, it is suggested that you never drive within 24 hours of smoking marijuana. The DUI limits for marijuana are quite low, and there is a good chance that even if you are no longer feeling any effects it is still in your bloodstream. The best advice is to never smoke and drive, but if you do get caught call a marijuana DUI lawyer before you answer any questions or take any tests. We can help.