DUI Marijuana – It's Complicated
In December 2012, possession of marijuana became legal in Washington. However, be cautious. Although you may legally possess up to one ounce of marijuana, the relaxed law does not include driving while under the influence of pot.
The illegal limit of THC in the blood is five nanograms per milliliter. As different people have different tolerances to marijuana, however, the visible effects of pot can be difficult to see. Variables affecting visual and physical effects of marijuana include:
- Body weight and metabolism
- Different strains and potencies of marijuana
- Interactions with medications
- Period between ingesting marijuana and driving a vehicle
- Whether or not the driver is sleepy or ill
This opens up quite a legal conundrum, and if you find yourself charged with DUI marijuana, you need a sharp defense attorney who understands the difficulties surrounding your case. Some studies show that five nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood may only be equivalent to .05 percent of blood alcohol content (BAC), which is below the state alcohol DUI limit. Additionally, because many people utilize medicinal marijuana, they can conceivably be breaking the law any time they get behind the wheel.
Another important reason to secure an attorney if you are charged with DUI marijuana is that active THC can remain in your system for several days. If you are pulled over for even a minor traffic violation and the officer tests you for impairment, you can end up with a DUI charge even though you are perfectly sober. Contact an informed and sympathetic Tacoma lawyer to ensure your rights are protected immediately.
Authorities will only pull you over if they believe you are impaired or you are involved in an accident, as with alcohol DUI. They may conduct a field sobriety test (FST), which can include walking in a line heel-to-toe, following a light with your eyes, and other tasks. If an officer believes you are impaired, he or she may consult with a drug recognition expert. If there is probable cause to believe you are impaired, you will be asked to submit to a blood test. Because of Washington's implied consent law, refusal to take this test can result in revocation of your license.
Many marijuana supporters do not support this part of the legalization law. Believing it is too open for interpretation and prejudiced against medical marijuana users, they have one excellent piece of advice — simply don't smoke and drive.
However, if you do find yourself charged with DUI marijuana, contact a Tacoma DUI marijuana defense attorney today. Washington's current laws are too new and vague to fight without a seasoned lawyer by your side.