Defending against charges with big potential penalties
Fairfax Marijuana DUI / DWI Lawyer
Virginia considers marijuana an illegal drug, so anyone found to be operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of pot may be charged with a marijuana DUI or DUID—Driving Under the Influence of Drugs.
In order to be found guilty of DUID, the prosecution must first prove that you were operating a motor vehicle, which could mean driving as well as sitting in the driver’s seat of a parked car while the keys are in the ignition. Then the prosecutor must prove that you were under the influence of marijuana at the time. Many times a blood test will be demanded by the officer when a driver’s breath alcohol content (BAC) measures below .08 but the driving behavior is such that the officer suspects impairment.
In regular DUI cases involving alcohol, a person is considered to be over the legal limit if their BAC is over .08, but there is no equivalent scale for marijuana. This is why DUID cases are extremely technical for the prosecution to prove and very winnable for the defense. Blood test results can show traces of THC in one’s blood stream up to 30 days after consumption, which can be misleading and thus their “relationship” to a person’s driving behavior can be disproven in court.
Penalties for a Marijuana DUI in Virginia
Penalties for marijuana DUI are the same as those for DUI:
- $250 fine
- Up to 12 months in jail, although in Northern Virginia the sentence is usually 30 days with all that time suspended for good behavior
- Driver’s license suspension for six months
- Requirement to take the Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP) class
People charged with marijuana DUI might also be hit with a possession charge. Also, if you refuse to submit to the blood test after you are arrested, you can be charged with refusal as well, which carries a 12 month “hard” loss of license (i.e., no restricted license).
If you face any kind of marijuana possession, marijuana DUI or DUID charge, stop talking immediately other than to ask for your Fairfax County criminal defense lawyer.