Marijuana DUI Charges in Pennsylvania
The legalization of marijuana is spreading across the United States with a total of thirty-three states allowing for medicinal use and fifteen states allowing recreational use. Pennsylvania legalized marijuana for medical use in 2016, but it remains illegal for recreational use. Marijuana DUI Charges have a zero-tolerance policy for driving under the influence of cannabis as covered under Pennsylvania Drugged Driving laws.
Legal or not, there are people who will use marijuana and get behind the wheel and put themselves and others at risk. Since the states have decided the legal use of marijuana, there has been a 70 percent increase in marijuana DUI statistics this year,
Until state legislators decide to alter these laws, medical marijuana use while driving is considered illegal.
Marijuana DUI ― Laws and Penalties
Pennsylvania DUI laws carry severe penalties for marijuana DUI offenders; even a first offense can land one with a $300 fine and 6 months’ probation.
Depending on the degree of intoxication and the offense, drug treatment is also be considered as part of the sentence.
The second offense comes with far more dramatic penalties that include fines of no less than $1,500, 6 months in jail, driver’s license suspension for up to 18 months, attending highway safety school, and installing an ignition interlock device for up to one year.
Marijuana DUI in PA carries hefty penalties and has little mercy toward offenders. Third and subsequent offenses follow with similar penalties, but more severe.
These include fines of no less than $2,500, a suspended license for at least 18 months, 150 hours of community service, and the offender can also be required to attend a victim impact panel.
Medicinal Cannabis and Driving: What happens?
The law does not make exceptions for the medicinal use of cannabis while operating a motor vehicle.
A critical difference between alcohol and cannabis is how long traceable substances remain in one’s system after use.
Cannabis metabolite can linger in the body for weeks after initial use and is detectable via officers’ chemical tests. For a marijuana DUI test to meet the threshold of evidence, a specific concentration of illicit metabolites must be met.
According to Pennsylvania Bulletin Volume 34 Issue 7, the level of THC or its metabolites must be 1 nanogram per milliliter.
What this demonstrates is that there is a minimal trace of cannabis required to be put in the hot seat. There are no exceptions, even for medical marijuana prescription holders.
Even if an officer simply smells marijuana around the vehicle, it is enough for them to help charge the driver. The use of marijuana in any way is risky when operating a motor vehicle.
Unlike alcohol, marijuana can remain in the body for weeks, which can easily lead to DUI charges. A conviction of DUI will land permanent marks on one’s record. Job opportunities are hard-to-find and earning a decent living far more difficult.
Landlords also run background checks, so even getting an apartment will be more challenging.
Overall, Pennsylvania marijuana DUI laws were made strict and are strictly enforced. Understanding the penalties can help keep you avoid potential charges and permanent marks on your record.
If you were charged for a Marijuana DUI charge, kindly seek a qualified Marijuana DUI lawyer as soon as possible.
Erie, PA DUI lawyers will work with you to help the verdict lean more in your favor.
Have questions about DUI charges in Erie, Pennsylvania? Take a look at our answers to frequently asked questions about DUI.