Recreational marijuana / cannabis use is now legal in Spokane and the entire State of Washington, but more drivers than ever are being arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana. Harsh sentencing provisions have been put in place for those who are convicted of a marijuana DUI. They can include up to 364 days in jail, a fine of up to $5,200, court costs, at least 15 days of electronic home monitoring, participation in a drug and alcohol remediation program, 24/7 sobriety and a 90 day driver’s license suspension. The conditions of that sentence could profoundly impact you, your family and your job. Those are good reasons for taking decisive measures to protect your rights and preserve your defenses by contacting our office right away after a marijuana DUI arrest.
Challenging the license suspension
In order to challenge a driver’s license suspension, a hearing request must be made to the Department of Licensing along with payment of the appropriate fee within 20 days of the date of a person’s arrest.
The legal limits
Washington’s marijuana DUI laws are spelled out at RCW 46.61.502. It states that the driver of a motor vehicle being operated in the State of Washington is guilty of a marijuana DUI if he or she has 5.0 nanograms or more per milliliter of THC in his or her blood two hours after driving. Anybody under the age of 21 isn’t allowed to have anything over .00 nanograms of THC in their blood within two hours after driving. THC is the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. A driver can be found guilty of driving while impaired by marijuana with any THC at all in his or her blood so long as there’s sufficient evidence to support impairment. Sometimes drivers are arrested for having THC in their system even if they weren’t stoned or high.
Field sobriety tests
Like in a suspected alcohol DUI, the officer who made the traffic stop will probably ask you to perform some field sobriety tests. The officer is making a request for you to take the tests and not commanding you to take them. No matter how authoritative the officer sounds, it’s perfectly legal for you to refuse to take them. Your performance of the tests will likely be recorded, and that tape will probably be used against you in court in the future. You can politely refuse to perform any field sobriety tests, but be aware of the fact that there are civil penalties for refusing.
The search warrant
The only way for law enforcement to determine whether a driver has marijuana in his or her system is through a blood test. If the investigating officer really wants to know whether you have marijuana in your blood, he or she will be required to obtain a search warrant and transport you to a hospital or clinic for your blood to be drawn. The officer need not go to court to get that warrant. It can be issued on a phone call to a judge. If you’re transported someplace for a blood sample, remain polite and be compliant.
Contact a Spokane DUI Lawyer Now
If you’re charged with a marijuana DUI, contact our offices as soon as possible after your arrest for a free case consultation and evaluation. In order to receive the most favorable outcome on your case, you’ll want an experienced and skilled Washington marijuana DUI attorney. Many defenses and alternatives exist. Our objectives are to further preserve your rights, advise you of your options and protect your driver’s license, your freedom and your job.