Driving while under the influence of marijuana is a serious offense. A person charged with a marijuana DUI offense may also face additional penalty charges for possession if they were also found to be in possession of the drug.
A person should consult with a lawyer as soon as they are charged with driving under the influence. An attorney could assess the situation and offer advice on how to move forward. If you are facing charges, reach out to a Maryland marijuana DUI lawyer today. Let an experienced DUI drug attorney advocate for you and help you reach a favorable outcome to your case.
The decriminalization of marijuana does not directly impact the potential to be charged with driving while impaired under the controlled dangerous substance law. It is still illegal to drive while impaired by marijuana, just as it was before decriminalization. There are some subtle ways in which the decriminalization can impact DUI cases. One way is that with the decriminalization of marijuana, there is an argument that the odor of marijuana is not an indication of illegal activity.
When marijuana was criminalized, the odor of marijuana could be probable cause for a stop or approach of the vehicle by the officer as it was indicative of the very least the presence of an illegal substance. With small amounts of marijuana no longer being criminal, there is an argument that the odor of marijuana alone is not evidence of any criminal activity that does not provide probable cause for law enforcement to stop, detain, or search a person in the vehicle.
In a DUI case, if the odor of marijuana was the basis for a stop or a search, there is a new argument now that there is no legal basis for that search or stop. Any evidence obtained afterward should be suppressed and not come into evidence.
In a marijuana DUI case, the prosecution needs to prove that the person drove or attempted to drive a vehicle, and at the time, they were impaired by a controlled dangerous substance.
A person charged with the first offense for a marijuana DUI can face a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. A person will also have points added to their driver’s license, and their insurance rates will go up. Therefore, it is imperative for a defendant to obtain a marijuana DUI lawyer in Maryland as soon as possible.
The main difference between marijuana and alcohol DUIs is the proof of impairment. There is one category of alcohol DUI charges where a certain amount of alcohol in a person’s system is inherently illegal. If a person is found to be driving with a blood alcohol content of over 0.08%, that is per se illegal. Unless there is an involuntary intoxication defense or some other type of defense, driving with that amount of alcohol in a person’s system is illegal and separate from the level of impairment.
The person with a high alcohol content may not be impaired, but that amount of alcohol is nonetheless illegal. For a marijuana DUI case, there is no specific related amount of marijuana. There is no real way to test it that correlates the impairment, so the officer looks to impairment. The way that impairment is proven is different than in alcohol cases because it is harder to pinpoint, essentially. For an alcohol case, there is what is called a standardized field sobriety test. This involves tracking a pen or a light in their eyes from side to side, bouncing on one leg for a certain period of time, and walking heel-to-toe in a certain way.
These tests are scientifically designed to show evidence of alcohol impairment. There are not corresponding specific tests to show marijuana impairment. The tests and questions asked by a drug recognition expert are less scientific and less conclusive in establishing marijuana impairment. There is no biological test that can detect the presence of marijuana. The marijuana can linger a person’s system for a week, long after the intoxicating effect of the drug has worn off. Proving marijuana impairment lies much more on circumstantial evidence, and circumstantial evidence is much less conclusive.
Marijuana DUI cases are complicated and technical. If you are facing charges, you should reach out to a seasoned Maryland marijuana DUI lawyer who has experience with these cases.
They will be able to know how the laws and rules are applied to the specific facts of your case and how come up with and execute the strategy that will get the best possible outcome for you.
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