The Potholes of Marijuana DUI cases

Weed, grass, pot, maryjane…These are many common names for marijuana.

Washington passed Initiative 502 in November of 2012, which legalized marijuana. However, there are still Washington statutes (or in other words – laws) that criminalize marijuana. One is RCW 69.50.4014, which makes it a crime for any person to be in possession of forty grams or less of marijuana. Another law, RCW 46.61.502(b), criminalizes a person, if within two hours of driving, a person has a THC concentration of 5.00 or higher.

So what does this law mean for those charged with a marijuana DUI?

  1. Violation of Privacy Rights
    Well, your privacy rights could come into question. For example, in some instances, if a driver is suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana, Courts may allow officers to collect a blood sample without a warrant. For this to occur though, the City is held to a high standard – they must show by clear and convincing evidence that obtaining a warrant would have significantly delayed collection a blood sample. [1]
  2. Post-Sentencing Punishment for Marijuana Consumption
    Further, although marijuana is legal, courts could still punish you after you’ve been sentenced for consuming marijuana. Many times, as a condition of a guilty conviction, the Judge will order no possession or consumption of marijuana or drugs. If you are in treatment and have a positive UA for marijuana, the judge could then punish you for using marijuana.
  3. Jail Time and Fines
    Just like an alcohol DUI, if convicted of a marijuana DUI, you could be facing  up to 364 days in jail and a $5000 fine.

Aside from these 3 issues, there are many other problems that can come from being charged with a DUI for marijuana. However, there may be a silver lining.

Police officers still “don’t have the equivalent of a reliable alcohol breathalyzer or blood test — a chemically based way of estimating what the drug is doing in the brain. Though a blood test exists that can detect some of marijuana’s components, there is no widely accepted, standardized amount in the breath or blood that gives police or courts or anyone else a good sense of who is impaired.”[2]

That’s were a DUI criminal defense attorney can help. A DUI attorney will analyze the police methods and testing and find the flaws with the prosecution’s case.

Contact Horwath Law today for your consultation.

[1] City of Seattle v. Pearson, 192 Wn. App.802 (2016).

[2] https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/07/30/523004450/scientists-still-seek-a-reliable-dui-test-for-marijuana

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