DUI & DWI
Baton Rouge Marijuana DUI Lawyer
Everyone knows that you get a DUI conviction for driving drunk. But not many people realize that the law applies to marijuana and controlled substances too. It’s much more difficult to determine the specific THC concentration in a person’s system, though, compared to determining BAC levels through a breathalyzer. That’s why marijuana DUI laws vary from state to state, with some states following basic impairment laws and others following per se laws. Below, our legal team explains how you can get a marijuana DUI charge in Louisiana, as well as the potential penalties that come with that charge.
If you’re facing a marijuana DUI charge, it’s crucial to hire experienced legal representation from the Law Offices of Ossie Brown. We have the skill and experience necessary to take on your DUI case so that you can face as little jail time and fines as possible. Call 225-343-1111 to schedule a free consultation with a Baton Rouge DUI lawyer today.
What is a DUI?
DUI stands for “driving under the influence” and DWI stands for “driving while intoxicated.” Both acronyms are used interchangeably across the United States. DUI charges are most commonly associated with alcohol, but it’s very possible to get a DUI due to marijuana use as well. In fact, Louisiana DUI laws apply to alcohol, controlled substance, and marijuana use.
According to Louisiana law (R.S. 14:98), a driver is considered intoxicated while driving if they:
- Are under the influence of alcoholic beverages.
- Have a blood alcohol content (BAC) at or above the legal limit of 0.08%.
- Are under the influence of any controlled substances listed in Schedules I through V.
- Are under the influence of both alcohol and legally obtainable drugs (whether they have a prescription for the drugs or not).
So yes, it is very possible to get DUI charges in Louisiana if you have actual physical control over a motor vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs.
How Does Marijuana Affect the Brain and Body While Driving?
Smoking marijuana or consuming edibles can definitely impair the mind and body in a similar way that alcohol does. Marijuana use can distort vision and perception, delay reaction time, compromise decision-making, and diminish coordination according to the CDC. Similarly to alcohol impairment, cannabis impairment can make it difficult to pass field sobriety tests. Not only that, but any type of impaired driving can lead to major car accident injuries or deaths.
How State Laws Determine Whether Someone is Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana
Marijuana DUI laws vary from state to state. Some states determine that someone is driving while high through “impairment DUI laws” or “per se DUI laws.” Below, our Baton Rouge DUI lawyers explain the difference between the two.
Impairment DUI laws state that the average driver cannot operate a motor vehicle safely due to alcohol or marijuana use OR that a driver’s BAC exceeds 0.08%. If a driver meets at least one of these criteria, they can face a DUI arrest due to “actual impairment.” Louisiana follows impairment DUI laws.
It’s far easier to determine if someone is impaired by alcohol than it is to determine if someone is impaired by marijuana. If a police officer suspects that someone is drunk driving, then they can pull them over, ask them to do a field sobriety test, and then ask them to take a breath test.
In order to determine if someone is driving while high on marijuana, a police officer may look for signs of impairment such as red eyes, slurred speech, strange behavior, slow reflexes, and more. The arresting officer doesn’t have to detect marijuana through a positive chemical test. All of the aforementioned physical symptoms of being high behind the wheel – on top of poor driving – can be enough to warrant a marijuana DUI charge in Louisiana.
Per Se THC and Marijuana Metabolites
Per se DUI laws state that someone is considered driving while intoxicated if their BAC is at or above 0.08%. Obviously, determining how much THC is in a person’s system is different. Some states provide a max limit of how much THC or marijuana metabolite can be in a driver’s blood. THC metabolites are leftover compounds in the body after it has metabolized the drug. Meanwhile, other states hand out DUI charges if there is any amount of THC in a driver’s system.
There is a major flaw with per se DUI laws in relation to marijuana, which is why not all states adopt these laws. It is possible to detect marijuana in blood tests and urine tests for days or weeks after someone last used the substance, which means that a driver can potentially receive a positive blood test and a marijuana charge even if they were actually sober behind the wheel.
In fact, the American Addiction Centers claims that cannabis can be detected in a driver’s system for up to:
- 90 days in hair,
- 1 day to 1 month in urine,
- 24 hours in saliva,
- And 12 hours in blood.
Let’s say that someone smoked marijuana the previous evening and then went to sleep. The next morning, they woke up, drove to work, and got pulled over. If they were asked to take a blood test, it would likely indicate recent marijuana use. So they could get a DUI under these marijuana laws.
Can I Get a DUI For Driving High on Medical Marijuana?
Even though you can now legally possess medical marijuana in Louisiana, that doesn’t mean you can drive under the influence of medical marijuana. Medical marijuana patients can still receive marijuana DUIs according to Louisiana state laws.
Can I Get a DUI For Driving High on Delta 8?
Louisianans still can’t use or possess recreational marijuana legally. But delta 8 THC is now legal statewide. Still, that does not mean you can drive under the influence of marijuana. Our state’s DUI laws apply to delta 8 THC, medical marijuana, and all other drugs.
Marijuana DUI Penalties in Louisiana
DUI marijuana cases often result in major penalties, just like alcohol DUI cases. Below, our Baton Rouge DUI lawyers discuss possible penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana.
A driver will receive a misdemeanor conviction if they’re caught driving under the influence of marijuana for the first time. Jail time can range from 10 days to 6 months along with up to 2 years of probation and a fine of up to $1,000. Offenders may also have to participate in mandated community service hours and a substance abuse program.
If someone is caught driving under the influence of marijuana for a second time, they can face 30 days to 6 months in jail, up to 6 months of probation, and a maximum fine of $1,000. Offenders may also have to participate in mandated community service hours or a substance abuse program.
Getting caught driving under the influence of marijuana for a third time is considered a felony in Louisiana. Penalties include up to 5 years of prison time, a maximum fine of $2,000, and up to 5 years of probation. Offenders may also have to endure mandated substance abuse evaluation/treatment and suspension of driving privileges.
Fourth and Subsequent Offenses
A fourth marijuana DUI conviction is also a felony under Louisiana state laws. Penalties include 10 to 30 years of imprisonment, a maximum fine of $5,000, up to 5 years of probation, minimum 1 year of home incarceration, and driver’s license suspension. Offenders may also have to endure mandated substance abuse evaluation/treatment and community service hours.
The aforementioned penalties only apply if a driver was caught driving under the influence of marijuana. Penalties can be far more severe if a high driver severely injures or kills someone in a car accident. Aside from higher fines and more time in jail, high drivers can struggle to get a decent paying job and affordable insurance premiums if their intoxication leads to injury or death. Additionally, many DUI offenders have to have an ignition interlock device in their cars for several months or years. Driving sober and responsibly is always the best decision not only for you, but other drivers as well.
Call a Marijuana DUI Lawyer at The Law Offices of Ossie Brown TodayIf you’ve received a marijuana DUI or alcohol-related DUI conviction, it’s crucial that you seek legal help from The Law Offices of Ossie Brown. Our legal team has been handling DUI cases since 1984. We can defend your legal rights and ensure that you receive the best DUI case outcome possible. Call 225-343-1111 to schedule a free consultation with a Baton Rouge DUI Lawyer today.
Let us review your case at no cost to you. We want to take the time to get to know you and understand your legal goals and objectives.
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