Virginia marijuana laws refer to any law that involves marijuana whatsoever in the Commonwealth of Virginia. A Virginia marijuana DUI lawyer is well-equipped with the legal information to advise a person about marijuana laws. A qualified attorney can help you if you are charged with being under the influence of drugs.
A marijuana DUI could be a misdemeanor offense unless it falls into another category, in which case it could potentially be a charge involving possession of marijuana if there is also marijuana in the vehicle.
Potential penalties for marijuana DUI are going to depend on somebody’s criminal record and the severity of the crime, but a DUI penalty can be anything from a simple first offense DUI, which is up to 12 months in jail for a Class 1 misdemeanor and up to a $2,500.00 fine, one-year loss of license and six months of an intoxilyzer should a person request a license and should that be granted to the person. They will also be required to complete the Alcohol Safety Action Program.
Marijuana DUI cases are different from alcohol-based cases because there is a lot of unsettled law about the drug, including what a person can have in their system and what potentially marijuana might do to someone.
There is not a good standardized testing system for marijuana or what levels of marijuana make a person a better or worse driver. Some people argue and some courts take into consideration that any amount of marijuana in a person’s bloodstream could potentially cause them to acquire a DUI, but there is a way to argue that marijuana does not have a specific effect on the ability to drive and/or impairment thereof. A skilled marijuana DUI lawyer can speak more about the difference between the two DUI types.
In standardized field sobriety tests for alcohol, someone can determine how much alcohol or drugs are in a person’s system. From an evidence perspective, the presence of any drug in the blood or some marijuana in the blood could arguably be enough to cause a person impairment, but there would need to be more signs of physical impairment to sustain a conviction under the law.
For an alcohol DUI, it is easy for officers to look at someone and say that they smell alcohol and they were able to discern that they had alcohol in their system through tests or other signs in the car. For a marijuana DUI case, however, an officer will find it more difficult to find similar signs. An officer can maybe smell the drug or have them blow into a PBT, which will show nothing if they had not been drinking, so the officer might guess that the impairment is due to drugs.
From there, an officer may get a warrant for a blood test to prove that. But the field sobriety tests are certainly problematic because what they show and what they have been tailored as to show is the presence of alcohol in somebody’s blood. There is no national standard for impairment for marijuana.
It is under the same statute. It is unlawful to operate certain types of vehicles while under the influence of alcohol if a person has a BAC of 0.08 or more. Those are the alcohol-based ones. Also, it is if a person is under the influence of any drugs or any combination of drugs or any combination of drugs and alcohol or any certain specific controlled substances.
The statutes are rough. They have to prove that a person was operating a motor vehicle in the state of Virginia. It says “while under the influence of drugs or any combination of drugs”, that is what the statute says. This is what the prosecutor needs to prove during the case.
It is important to contact an attorney that has familiarity with drug DUIs or marijuana DUIs because it is not as cut-and-dry as an alcohol-based DUI. What that means is there is going to be a lot more room to bring experts in or to have somebody argue that, potentially, the effect of the impairment on a person’s driving is not standardized or is not the same for everybody and different levels in a person’s system do not mean that the person was necessarily impaired at the time of driving. All these things are to argue because it is a groundbreaking area, but a person needs somebody who has this experience to be able to argue most effectively for them.
An experienced Virginia marijuana DUI lawyer knows exactly what goes into a DUI case involving marijuana through prior exposure to the same type of cases. For more information, call a Virginia marijuana DUI lawyer to see what you can do about charges.
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