Everyone knows that they shouldn't drink and drive, but fewer people are aware that there could be issues involved with smoking or ingesting marijuana while driving. Here are a few of the most important things that you should know about a marijuana DUI. First of all...
Yes, You Can Get a DUI for Marijuana
In fact, you can get a DUI for nearly any substance that can potentially slow your reflexes or alter your perception. DUI simply stands for Driving Under the Influence, and DWI for Driving While Intoxicated. Nowhere is it specified that alcohol is the influence or the intoxication. If a police officer believes that you are intoxicated with marijuana, you can still get a DUI. While you can't be subject to laws such as "extreme DUIs" (which are targeted towards certain blood alcohol levels), the penalties for a marijuana DUI will otherwise be similar to an alcohol DUI.
A Medical Prescription Won't Help
You may still be considered as driving under the influence even if you're using a prescription medication, including marijuana. For instance, if you took Ambien and went for a drive, you would get a DUI -- because the medication itself warns that you shouldn't be driving while using it.
There's No Set Amount of Marijuana
You don't have to consume a specific amount of THC in order to make it dangerous for you to drive. If a law enforcement professional thinks that you're impaired and you've been smoking marijuana, then you can be considered driving while impaired. Though a judge will hear your case, it may be impossible to prove that you weren't.
You Can't Even Have an Open Container
Open container laws apply to marijuana just as they do alcohol, though they are both legal to have. Marijuana should never be in an open container in your car even in states that allow recreational and medical usage, as this can imply that the marijuana was being used while driving. For that reason, it's also not a good idea for passengers to be using marijuana while you are driving.
If you've experienced a marijuana DUI or are concerned that you could, you may want to consult with a DUI attorney (such as one from Law Offices of Maddox Levine PLLC). Those who require medical marijuana to function and also are required to drive should consult with a DUI attorney or marijuana advocacy group in advance, to make sure that they know their own legal rights and the best way to protect themselves from a potential arrest.