Washington has legalized recreational marijuana use, but it still prosecutes marijuana DUI crimes. Since legalization, there has been an increased number of arrests and convictions. If you are arrested for marijuana DUI, you should consult the skillful Tacoma marijuana DUI lawyers at the Law Offices of Smith & White. The penalties and consequences for a marijuana DUI can be serious, particularly if it is not your first DUI.Marijuana DUI Charges
Under RCW 46.61.502, you can be guilty of driving under the influence if within two hours of driving, you had a THC concentration of 5.00 or higher, as shown by an analysis of your blood under RCW 46.61.506, or if you were driving under the influence of marijuana or any other drug or under the combined influence of marijuana, liquor, and any drug. The fact that you are entitled to use marijuana under Washington state law is not a defense against a marijuana DUI charge.
The prosecutor can use an analysis of breath or blood samples sought more than two hours after you were driving as proof that within two hours of driving, you were under the influence of marijuana or affected by marijuana. The presence of more than a 0.00 THC concentration can be used to establish that you were under the influence of marijuana. If both alcohol intoxication and the presence of THC are found, you may be charged with driving under the combined influence of drugs and alcohol.
Marijuana DUI is usually charged as a gross misdemeanor. However, if you are a juvenile driving under the influence of marijuana, you can be charged with a class B felony. You can also be charged with a class B felony if you have three or more prior offenses within 10 years, or if you have a prior conviction of vehicular homicide while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a drug, vehicular assault while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a drug, or an out-of-state offense that is comparable to the offenses previously specified. Felony charges are very serious and can carry significant criminal penalties, such as years in prison. Our marijuana DUI attorneys help Tacoma residents and other defendants fight their charges so that they can avoid these penalties, as well as related consequences with regard to finding a home, finding a job, or securing a professional license.Defenses
It is easier for a prosecutor to establish an alcohol DUI than it is for a prosecutor to establish a marijuana DUI. Sometimes a chronic user of marijuana will exhibit a high level of THC in their blood, even if this person has not used marijuana recently. It may be possible to present expert testimony regarding the metabolism of marijuana and intoxication.
In some cases, the methods used to establish impairment, such as field sobriety tests, are improperly administered. In that case, we may be able to challenge their accuracy and get the results suppressed. Even if they are administered properly, a Tacoma marijuana DUI attorney may be able to call into question their reliability. They are not designed for people under the influence of marijuana but instead for people under the influence of alcohol.
Officers are supposed to respect your constitutional rights when pulling you over or arresting you. When pulling you over, they must have a reasonable suspicion of criminal wrongdoing, and this must be a suspicion that is capable of being articulated. It cannot be just a hunch. If an officer pulled you over on a hunch, we may be able to get any evidence of a marijuana DUI obtained from the detention suppressed. Similarly, if the officer did not meet the standard of probable cause in arresting you, it may be possible to get certain evidence, such as a blood test taken after your arrest, suppressed.Contact a Criminal Attorney When Facing a Marijuana DUI Charge
You should not assume that a conviction is inevitable if you are facing marijuana DUI charges. We can evaluate your circumstances to determine what the strongest possible defense strategy would be in your case. If you are charged with marijuana DUI in Washington, you should seek representation from the skillful criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Smith & White. We represent people in Pierce, King, Kitsap, and Thurston Counties. Call us at (253) 203-1645 or complete our online form to set up a consultation with a marijuana DUI lawyer in the Tacoma area.