A marijuana DUI charge is often prosecuted seriously, and could have lasting effects on both an individual’s personal and professional lives. If a person is charged with a drug DUI and the allegation is that they are under the influence of marijuana at the time of their arrest, they are going to need an Arlington marijuana DUI lawyer as soon as possible to protect their rights and build a defense. There are certain defenses and approaches that are used in DUI drug cases that only an attorney who is experienced in that particular area is going to be able to effectively employ.
Marijuana is not decriminalized in Arlington or any other part of Virginia. Individuals frequently make the mistake of believing that because they are near jurisdictions where marijuana is decriminalized that that will also be true in Virginia. However, that is not the case. If a person receives a marijuana DUI in Virginia, they should consult with an Arlington marijuana DUI lawyer immediately.
There are a number of other charges that an individual could potentially have in association with a marijuana DUI situation. The most common one is marijuana possession. If a person is under the influence of marijuana while they are operating the motor vehicle, in some cases, they may still have either the drugs themselves or remnants of the drugs, which can form the basis of a possession charge as well as a potential paraphernalia charge. Further, there are other separate charges that are possible for paraphernalia under some circumstances.
Drug DUIs carry the same penalties that alcohol DUIs do. The one benefit of a marijuana DUI is that there are no penalty enhancements available based upon the level of a drug in a person’s system the way there is with alcohol. If a person is convicted of a first DUI offense based on being under the influence of marijuana, they are going to typically be looking at some amount of suspended jail time, typically between 30 and 180 days, a fine of at least $250, and suspension of their driver’s license for a period of twelve months. An individual will be able to get a restricted driver’s license during that period of time.
An individual will also have to complete the VASAP program, which consists of a minimum of 20 hours of classes. As a condition of their restricted driver’s license, an individual will also have to have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle for a period of at least six months. An Arlington marijuana DUI lawyer will be able to guide an individual down the best legal path to recovery.
The main way that marijuana DUIs are different than alcohol DUIs is in the way that the Commonwealth has to go about proving that the person is under the influence. In any DUI, the government has to prove two things:
In an alcohol DUI case, the level of alcohol that is in the individual’s system proves the individual is under the influence. If a person is at 0.08 or above, the Commonwealth is entitled to what is called a permissible inference that the person is under the influence. There is no similar level for marijuana or inference that gets drawn in a marijuana case. In order for the government to prove that a person is under the influence they will need a drug test which shows the presence of marijuana in the person’s blood.
An individual will also utilize an expert witness of some kind. This can be either a medical professional or a toxicologist who can give some evidence to the court that a certain level of marijuana in the system would correspond to impaired behavior. This is sometimes a complicated process for the government to prove.
An individual will want to contact someone who is familiar with Arlington as well as this particular kind of DUI for two reasons. The first is that being familiar with that jurisdiction is going to provide a significant advantage to that attorney as well as the defendant in the case. Knowing who the judges are, knowing the prosecutors, and knowing the personalities of all those various individuals very often provides a crucial advantage.
In addition, being familiar with marijuana DUI is going to provide significant advantages as well. This is a very particular kind of case. There is a very specific way the government has to go about proving it, and there are very particular defenses that arise in this case as opposed to other DUIs. As a result, it is important to utilize an Arlington marijuana DUI attorney with experience working these cases.
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