Marijuana DUI in Washington State
Have you been charged with driving under the influence of marijuana? Many of our clients have.
In Washington, it is legal to smoke, eat, or otherwise consume marijuana recreationally and you may have recently smoked or eaten marijuana when you were stopped by the police.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), after marijuana is consumed, it takes at least three hours for your blood plasma levels to drop below Washington’s legal threshold for marijuana DUI.
But, just how long marijuana will stay in your system will also depend on factors such as:
- The marijuana’s potency;
- Your age;
- Your physical condition; and
- Your use pattern
For this reason, if you are going to be traveling by car, you should always use a preselected designated driver if you plan to smoke or otherwise consume marijuana.
WA Marijuana DUI
In November the 6th, 2012, the voters in Washington state passed Initiative 502, which legalized the recreational use of marijuana. It is now legal in Washington for those ages 21 and older to possess up to 1 ounce of dried marijuana, up to one pound of a THC infused solid product, or 72 ounces of THC infused liquid.
Furthermore, possession of marijuana drug-related paraphernalia is no longer a crime. The new law also established a THC limit for drivers. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the (the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
Drivers who have 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood within two hours of driving or being in control of a vehicle are guilty of marijuana DUI. Drivers under the age of 21 and those who hold a Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDL) cannot have any THC in their blood at all within two hours of driving or the could be issued a DUI.
Marijuana Per Se
Just like the .08 Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit for drivers who have consumed alcohol, marijuana users who have more than 5ng/mm of THC in their blood when arrested are will be considered legally DUI and charged with marijuana. This means that the police do not have to prove that your driving was affected by the presence of THC in your system.
It is also important to note that even if your blood level is below the 5ng threshold limit, you may still be charged with DUI if you are under the influence or affected by the THC in your system. So, if you have only 4ng of THC in your bloodstream, but you show signs of being impaired, you may still be charged and convicted DUI.
The Penalties For Marijuana DUI in Washington
In Washington, marijuana DUI is considered a “gross misdemeanor”, punishable by serious penalties such as a suspension of your driver’s license, substantial fines, and possible jail time.
The penalties for a first offense marijuana DUI are as follows:
- A 90-day license suspension
- Up to 1 year in jail,
- A minimum of 15 days of electronic home monitoring
- A fine between $550 and $5,200
However, if you refuse to submit to chemical testing, these penalties will be enhanced in the following way:
- A 1-year license suspension
- A minimum of 1 day and up to 1 year in jail
- A minimum of 30 days of electronic home monitoring.
- A fine between $700 and $5,200
What’s more, the penalties listed above will be enhanced for each subsequent conviction and when the vehicle carried a passenger under 16 years old at the time of the offense.
So, What Can a Marijuana DUI Attorney Do to Help?
As your attorney, we will review every aspect of the case, including the police training manuals, to determine if the police examined you correctly and came to the right conclusions.
We will also examine the toxicology manuals to determine if the crime lab did their job correctly. In fact, by the time our investigation is completed, we will know more about your case than the prosecution.
As mentioned above, the district attorney in these cases can file charges even when the results of the toxicology report are below the legal threshold for marijuana DUI. Most of these prosecutions are based on the mere presence of marijuana in your system, rather than the amount. But it is often difficult to connect the mere presence of THC in your system to any impairment
If you have been arrested for marijuana DUI, you need an attorney who knows the science, understands the inherent problems the prosecution will have with proving your guilt, and one who is prepared to challenge the evidence in your case
Contact Bugbee Law Office, P.S.
When you need to choose an attorney for your marijuana DUI case, choose carefully and if you have questions, make sure your attorney has the answers. At The Bugbee Law Offices, when we represent a person for driving under the influence of marijuana, we do our homework.
Call Bugbee Law Office at (509) 337-5082, or visit our contact page to arrange a free consultation with an experienced Spokane DUI attorney.
The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.
© 2016 Bugbee Law Offices, P.S.