While most recognize that marijuana is illegal in Pennsylvania, many are unsure about the laws with regard to driving under the influence of marijuana and whether they could face charges of DUI. Recent marijuana use is difficult to test, and to date there is no reliable roadside test available to determine whether the driver is under the influence. Our attorneys are located in Palmerton, Bethlehem, and Stroudsburg and can help you with your criminal defense.
How is marijuana DUI determined in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania has a very simple marijuana DUI law – zero tolerance (one nanogram of active THC per milliliter of blood). That means that if you have any amount of marijuana metabolite in your system, you may be guilty of DUI.
However, to charge someone with DUI based on impairment by marijuana, the person must have a concentration of a marijuana metabolite of at least one nanogram per milliliter (ng/ml) of blood. Pennsylvania adopted this new lower threshold in 2011, as it was previously five ng/ml. Visit our Palmerton, Stroudsburg or Bethlehem law offices for answers to all your marijuana DUI questions.
What are the penalties for marijuana-based DUI?
The penalties are the same as for driving under the influence of alcohol. Pennsylvania law states that a person convicted for a first DUI must:
- undergo a mandatory six months probation;
- pay a $300 fine;
- attend an alcohol and highway safety school; and
- comply with any drug treatment requirements.
Penalties increase for second, third and multiple offenses. For example, a second conviction within 10 years may lead to penalties of up to six months in jail, a fine up to $2,500, alcohol highway safety school, a year-long license suspension, ignition interlock device for a year, and a drug and alcohol assessment. It is also common to have a secondary charge with the DUI. Criminal charges like possession of marijuana or possession of drug paraphernalia may accompany a DUI based on marijuana impairment. You can learn more about the possible consequences by looking at our DUI Sentencing Grid.
What should I do if charged with DUI based on marijuana impairment?
Speak to a qualified attorney about your charges and the circumstances of your case. An attorney will look at all aspects of your case including the initial reason for the stop, the results of a field sobriety test – if given – and the amount of the marijuana metabolite in your blood, and can help you decide if you have a good chance to fight the charges.
Being charged while driving under the influence of marijuana can affect your livelihood and your reputation. Employers, school admissions offices, potential landlords, and more may see the charge when applying for a job, applying to college, or trying to rent an apartment.
You need a lawyer who understands the fine details of this type of DUI. If you live in the Stroudsburg, Palmerton or Bethlehem areas of Pennsylvania, call the law office of ARM Lawyers. We defend drivers facing DUI charges and can help you explore possible defenses to your case or options that might allow you to reduce charges or penalties.