The state of Washington has been leading the way in marijuana legalization. We were one of the first states to legalize medical marijuana. Then, in 2010, state voters passed I-502 legalizing the recreational usage of marijuana for people 21 and over.
But all politics aside, how did marijuana legalization affect the state of Washington?
One major effect of marijuana legalization was an increased enforcement of marijuana DUI’s in Washington.
In the summer of 2014, Washington State Patrol kicked off a, “Drive High, Get a DUI,” campaign to warn drivers and marijuana users that driving under the influence of marijuana puts you in danger of being charged with a DUI. Officers have a zero tolerance policy, and many drivers have experienced the effects.
When it comes down to it, a DUI can arise from driving under the influence of any drug or medication that affects your ability to properly operate a vehicle. Here at The Law Offices of Barbara A. Bowden, we see DUI charges occur due to usage of a variety of drugs, from Ambien, to marijuana, alcohol, and more. To avoid being charged with a DUI of any kind, we advise that you avoid driving after using medication or drugs that would affect you. However, in the off chance that you find yourself in a sticky situation, we recommend that you know and understand your marijuana DUI rights, as confusing at they may seem.
Signs of Marijuana DUI
We know that Washington law enforcement officers are going to be on the lookout for drivers under the influence. If they have probable cause, they stop drivers under suspicion of marijuana usage. When officers stop you they will look for signs of marijuana, along with other drugs.
The following are signs police officers look out for:
- Smell of cannabis
- Bloodshot eyes
- Speech irregularities
- Marijuana in your vehicle
People charged with a marijuana DUIs are typically stopped for similar reasons as people pulled over for alcohol DUIs, and in fact the two charges are very similar. In the State if Washington you will be charged with a Marijuana DUI if your blood has 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood of active THC if you are over 21 within 2 hours of driving. However, if you are under the age of 21 you cannot have anything over .00 within 2 hours of driving. This level will be determined through a test of your blood. In which, a police officer will take you to a hospital to have your blood drawn. Again, you can suffer similar license consequences from The Department of Licensing as you can with an alcohol related DUI.
At The Law Offices of Barbara A. Bowden, we know that marijuana-driving laws can be difficult to comprehend, no matter how much you read or hear about them on the news. Because of the ambiguity of THC tests and aggression from police officers, being charged with marijuana DUI in Washington can feel overwhelming to say the least. You probably have questions, and despite your Internet research, you can’t find credible answers.
If I wasn’t high while I was driving, how could the police officers charge me with a DUI?
Were the police officers allowed to take a blood test for THC?
What does the blood test for marijuana actually tell them?
Our marijuana DUI lawyers take the time to stay up to date on and be knowledgeable about Washington marijuana driving laws, especially how they can affect our clients. With experience in defending people charged with marijuana DUI in Washington State, we can provide an informed front and help you sort through the options available to you after being charged. For more information about marijuana driving laws in the state of Washington and what options you have when you are facing marijuana DUI charges, contact one of our offices in Lakewood or Tacoma, Washington today.
Testing for Marijuana (THC) in Washington
Active THC (marijuana) is only detectable in a person’s blood for only a few hours, because of how fast it metabolizes in your bloodstream.
In Washington, THC tests infer you are impaired when you have 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood of active THC or marijuana in your system within two hours of driving. The THC test shows the drug’s presence in your body.
Keep in mind; your rights have not changed.
Just like when you are under suspicion of an alcohol DUI, you aren’t required to complete field sobriety tests on the scene. An officer will ask an individual being investigated for marijuana DUI to submit to a drug recognition evaluation by a drug recognition expert. These tests are voluntary and like any field sobriety test, you should refuse all tests until you have been provided an opportunity to speak to an attorney. However, in the case of marijuana DUIs, law enforcement officers will call a judge and get a search warrant to test and search for marijuana usage or possession.
What Happens if I’m Charged of Marijuana DUI?
If you are charged with marijuana DUI, be sure to contact a DUI defense attorney as soon as possible so you can start defending your rights. At the Law Offices of Barbara A. Bowden, we want to make sure your rights are protected, and your options are clear. Contact our Lakewood, Washington office today.Copyright: tvirbickis / 123RF Stock Photo