The state of Virginia and all local government officials take DUI cases very seriously. When most people think of DUI charges, they think of a person driving under the influence of alcohol. However, a person can also get a DUI if they are accused of operating while impaired by narcotics. Here, the Virginia DUI attorneys at Randall Page, P.C. want to discuss how law enforcement officials go about proving a marijuana DUI.
There has been some confusion about DUI charges in Virginia after the decriminalization of marijuana took place. It is still illegal to possess, distribute, or consume marijuana in Virginia. Anybody who is pulled over by the police and suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana could be charged with DUI. However, proving marijuana intoxication can be a bit more problematic for law enforcement officials and prosecutors.
Unlike alcohol-based DUI charges, there is no breathalyzer test that can be used to prove a person’s level of intoxication. In these cases, a blood test is going to be required to establish that the person arrested was impaired by THC (the intoxicant inside marijuana) at the time of their arrest. However, this can become complicated because the metabolites of marijuana remain in a person’s system for weeks after they have used the drug. Prosecutors need to show that there was an active level of THC in a person’s blood, meaning that the accused was actually under the influence of the drug at the time they were arrested.
In order to do so, prosecutors will use testimony from the officer who made the arrest about their observations at the time of the traffic stop as well as evidence from any field sobriety tests administered. This evidence will be used in conjunction with the results of a blood test.
Marijuana DUI penalties are the same penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol or any other drugs in Virginia. A person facing marijuana DUI charges, for a first offense, can face up to 12 months of a license suspension as well as a mandatory requirement to attend Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP) classes. This is a Class 1 misdemeanor offense in Virginia, and a person could face up to one year in jail (though a first-time offender will likely have that time suspended) as well as a fine ranging from $300 to $500.
If you or somebody you love has been arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana, contact an attorney as soon as possible. At Randall Page, P.C., we pledge to investigate every aspect of the charges against you in an effort to get them reduced or dismissed altogether. We have an extensive understanding have Virginia law surrounding DUI incidents, and we are ready to get you through this. You can contact our DUI attorneys for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or by calling one of our location phone numbers listed below.
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