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 Driving While High: What are the consequences?

The dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol are well known, as are the harsh legal penalties for being caught driving drunk by the police. However, a disturbing number of drivers still get behind the wheel while under the influence of marijuana. The fact is, marijuana is a psychoactive drug which impairs a person’s ability to drive safely. In all fifty states, including states where recreational use of marijuana is legal, it is against the law to drive any vehicle while under the influence of marijuana.

Specific laws defining what “driving under the influence” means vary from state to state. In some states, merely sitting behind the wheel of a stationary car while intoxicated is considered to be driving under the law, while other states require the car to be in motion. States also differ on what is considered to be “under the influence” of marijuana. In many states, having any amount of marijuana in your blood or urine while driving, including residual metabolites which can remain in a user’s system for weeks after use, is considered to be under the influence and punishable by law. Other states have more relaxed laws, which consider the levels of marijuana in the blood. In the majority of states, a prosecutor will not need to prove in court that the driver was driving dangerously or recklessly, merely that they were high while driving.

Penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana can range based off the factors of the situation. These factors include previous offenses, if an accident was caused, or if there was a minor in the car. Punishments can include fines, suspension of license, and even jail time in the more serious of cases. Simply put, driving while high puts yourself and others on the road in danger, and can also lead to serious legal trouble.

As the laws regarding marijuana are rapidly changing in this country, trying to pin down the precise laws of your state could be somewhat of a moving target. The absolute best and safest practice will always be to never get behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated on any substance. If you have been charged with driving under the influence of marijuana, you should call an experienced Dekalb County DUI attorney. Your attorney will know the best path to take, and will have a complete understanding of the DUI laws of your particular state.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into dog bite cases.