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Washington State and Colorado Legalize Marijuana, What Does this Mean for DUIs?

Seattle, WA- Voters in Washington state and Colorado legalized the recreational use of marijuana, the first two states to do so. But even though residents in the state can puff away for fun, that doesn’t mean they can’t get charged with a DUI.

Both Washington and Colorado, along with the 17 states that have legalized marijuana for medicinal use, treat stoned drivers the same way they treat drunk drivers.

In Washington, a standard of 5 nano grams of active THC per milliliter of blood has been set as the standard to prosecute a driver for drugged driving. The body metabolizes marijuana differently from alcohol; a frequent pot smoker can have up to 2 ng/mL of THC in their blood 24 to 48 hours after smoking, well after the actual effects of the drug wear off.  

While Washington State may have blood concentration requirements for prosecuting a stoned driver, many states, even medical marijuana states, have a zero tolerance policy. Which means you could smoke marijuana on Tuesday, and be charged with drugged driving on Thursday, even if you didn’t actually smoke that day.

As more states legalize marijuana for recreational use, and they will in time, the DUI laws will have to be examined and a possibly changed because of the way the drug is metabolized.

Since marijuana use is prevalent in America, DUI attorneys are well-versed in building a defense and helping a person avoid conviction. The penalties for drugged driving are the same as drunk driving so it’s important to have legal representation to keep a court from handing down a tough sentence.

By |November 8th, 2012|DUI News|Comments Off|

Can Drivers Be Charged With DUI Now That Marijuana Is Legal In Washington State?

Seattle, WA- The legalization of marijuana has always been a controversial topic. But now, it might just be happening in Seattle, Washington.

Voters in the state and in Colorado legalized the recreational use of marijuana, becoming the first two states to do so. However, even though residents can smoke cannabis for fun – not medically like in some other states – they can still be charged with driving under the influence.

Washington and Colorado, along with 17 states other states, have legalized marijuana for medicinal use, but all these states have also taken zero pity against intoxicated drivers. In Washington, a standard of 5 nano grams of active THC per milliliter of blood is the legal limit that can be used to prosecute a driver for operating their vehicle while under the influence of marijuana.

The substance is metabolized differently than alcohol, with a frequent pot smoker having up to 2 ng/mL of THC in their blood for up to 48 hours after smoking. This means the effects can wear off, but the THC is still present and the driver can be hit with a DUI.

Furthermore, while Washington State has blood concentration requirements for charging a driver with intoxication, other states that allow medical marijuana use have a zero tolerance policy. This means that if a driver were to smoke pot at home on a Saturday, they can still be charged with DUI two days later, even if they didn’t smoke that day.

Anyone who has been arrested for marijuana use or possession can turn to a DUI lawyer for help to reduce their penalties or possibly walk away from their case with […]

By |November 8th, 2012|DUI News|Comments Off|

Colorado Lawmakers Vote for a Bill to Standardize DUI Limit of Marijuana Consumption

02 28 2012 DUI Lawyers News BlogDENVER – Colorado lawmakers have voted on a bill to set a standard when determining if drivers are impaired when operating vehicles under the influence of marijuana.

A Senate committee voted Monday to endorse a proposal for determining if a driver is intoxicated with marijuana. According to the bill, the driver would be considered impaired if they test positive for 5 nanograms or more of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in the drug, per milliliter of blood.

There have been disagreements over whether a THC test is a fair determinant of whether a driver is impaired, but the Senate panel voted for it and the measure will now move to the full chamber.

“The privilege of smoking marijuana should stop at the vehicle door,” said the bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Steve King, of Grand Junction.

Those against the bill argue that since THC is stored in the body’s fat, levels can build up over a period of time, causing skewed results. However, those pushing for the bill argue that the level of THC is significant enough to judge impairment.

Different states have varying laws over the legal limit for marijuana consumption. Some allow marijuana use for medical purposes, some have a set limit of THC allowable, while some have a zero-tolerance policy.

The bill still has to clear the full Senate before heading to the Republican House. If it passes, the bill would end up costing over half a million dollars to implement next year.

Driving under the influence can lead to terrible consequences for the motorist. Not only can a driver convicted of DUI suffer legal penalties like losing their license or […]

By |February 28th, 2012|DUI News|1 Comment|

Proposed marijuana DUI law moves forward in Colorado House

DENVER, Colorado – A proposed bill to include marijuana in DUI charges for the state have already advanced in the Colorado House as of Tuesday.

Lawmakers in Colorado are now debating over what to set the legal blood-content at for marijuana use.

House Bill 1261 would allow drivers to be charged with DUI if they test positive for a THC level of 5 nanograms or more per milliliter in their blood. This level has been argued by medical marijuana users, however, it is the most liberal marijuana statue in the country.

The legislation was proposed after marijuana usage in Colorado has increased drastically and lawmakers are afraid of people driving while intoxicated on the drug.

While some authorities argue that having a marijuana restriction limit is akin to having one for alcohol use, medical marijuana users argue that some people develop a tolerance that allows them to drive safely under higher levels of THC.

Rep. Claire Levy, A democrat who is co-sponsoring the bill, tried to appease concerns by suggesting the limit be raised to 8 nanograms. However, her amendment drew criticism from the other co-sponsor of the bill, Republican Rep. Mark Waller. He argues that 5 nanograms is more than fair, especially after experts had suggested that 2 nanograms was also reasonable.

Many states that have marijuana limits imposed on drivers, such as Nevada and Ohio, set the limit at 2 nanograms. Many other states have a zero-tolerance policy altogether, such as Arizona and Georgia.

Those who support the bill argue that it is not an attack toward medical marijuana users and explain that people will only be stopped by police if they are exhibiting signs of intoxication while driving. After being pulled over, drivers […]

By |April 6th, 2011|DUI News|Comments Off|