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Marijuana DUI Penalties and Consequences

Criminal Lawyers Assisting Drivers in Tacoma and Surrounding Areas

Although recreational marijuana has been legalized in Washington, it is unlawful to drive while influenced by marijuana. Whether you are charged with an alcohol-related or marijuana DUI, it is important to consult a skillful attorney. The Tacoma marijuana DUI lawyers at Smith & White can help you fight your charge. We also can explain marijuana DUI penalties and consequences so that you understand what you are facing.

Marijuana DUI Penalties and Consequences

Under RCW 46.61.502, if you are in physical control of a car and under the influence of marijuana, you can be charged with a marijuana DUI. You will be considered per se under the influence of marijuana if your chemical test shows that you had a concentration of five nanograms or more of THC per milliliter of blood. You can also be considered under the influence of marijuana while driving if you are impaired or affected by marijuana. While a .08% blood alcohol concentration can establish that a driver is under the influence, marijuana impairment is more complicated. Marijuana metabolites can stay in your body for weeks or even more after you have smoked or otherwise used marijuana. Metabolites do not indicate how long ago you smoked marijuana.

Penalties for a marijuana DUI conviction may include jail time, fines, community service, probation, home confinement, ignition interlock device use, a license suspension, vehicle impoundment or forfeiture, and a mandate that you participate in a drug treatment program.

Lookback Period

In Washington, RCW 46.61.5055 specifies how far back a prosecutor will look when determining prior offenses. You can be charged with a first-time DUI if you have no record of DUIs or if any conviction occurred more than seven years ago. However, if you committed a similar offense within the last seven years, you will be charged with a subsequent offense.


A marijuana DUI usually is a gross misdemeanor. There are certain circumstances in which a marijuana DUI may be charged as a class B felony, such as when you have three or more prior offenses within 10 years or when you are a juvenile. It can also be charged as a class B felony when you have previously been convicted of vehicular homicide while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or when you have previously been convicted of vehicular assault while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You can be charged with a class B felony if you have an out-of-state offense on your record that is comparable to vehicular assault or vehicular homicide.

Gross misdemeanor convictions can result in sentences of up to 364 days in jail, a $5,000 fine, 15 days of electronic home monitoring, and a 90-day driver’s license suspension. You might also be required to get counseled or assessed for drug abuse. Getting a gross misdemeanor on your record means that you will have a permanent criminal record. A permanent criminal record can present certain non-judicial consequences. Consequences for having a criminal record can include problems with being admitted to college, problems with obtaining financial aid for college or graduate school, problems with securing various kinds of professional licenses, setbacks in your career, difficulty in renting an apartment or house, and trouble for your immigration status if you are a foreign national.

A fourth DUI is a class B felony. A class B felony conviction in Washington can result in a sentence that includes incarceration of up to 10 years, a fine of up to $20,000, or both. You may also face a driver’s license revocation, a probationary period, higher insurance premiums, and other long-term consequences. A criminal record that includes a felony conviction can make it exceptionally difficult to find a job, rent a home, obtain a loan, or obtain higher education.

Discuss Your Case with an Experienced Tacoma Attorney

Marijuana DUI penalties and consequences can be significant. If you are arrested for marijuana DUI in Washington, you should consult the experienced criminal defense lawyers at Smith & White. We represent drivers in Tacoma and throughout Pierce, King, Kitsap, and Thurston Counties. Call us at (253) 203-1645 or complete our online form.

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I was represented by James White and have been nothing but satisfied with the outcome. Jame is very efficient and eliminates much of the stress that the judicial system can place on an offender. I am very grateful to have such a great attorney and owe him my gratitude for helping me when times were rough. Not only is he professional, but he is also someone you can talk to on a personal level. I highly recommend James White and would undoubtedly use him again in the future. If you are in search of an attorney, do yourself a favor and have the law offices of Smith & White represent you. Mike D.
I contacted James after my charge for reckless endangerment, and right from the start he was informative and reassuring. James worked hard to get me the best possible outcome, and was always very quick to return a call or text. He was straightforward and honest with me about my case, explaining both the good and the bad in a way that was reassuring without being misleading. Overall, I highly recommend Smith and White to anyone who is looking for the most professional representation in their legal matters. Matthew B.
Attorney James White was a beacon of hope for me at a time when my options appeared limited and the likeness of a satisfactory resolution seemed close to nothing. Not only was he able to defend me in a specific sticky situation in which I hired him for, I felt as though he also went above and beyond in efforts to provide me with the best outcome possible. His calm and professional demeanor offered such a great assurance to myself and those I care about around me. I am completely grateful for his service and I most definitely recommend Mr. White. Leyasha J.
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