People often associate a DUI with driving under the influence of alcohol, but were you aware that you can get a DUI for driving under the influence of marijuana? Although there are limited circumstances where people can legally use medical marijuana in Maryland, operating a motor vehicle while using marijuana can land you a DUI charge as fast as drinking and driving will.
Laws regarding driving under the influence of marijuana vary from state to state. Keep reading to learn more about Maryland’s DUI laws and the consequences of breaking those laws.
Marijuana DUI in Maryland
You can be found guilty of a marijuana DUI if your physical or mental capabilities are impaired by the drug. If you have been stopped and the officer believes you are driving under the influence of marijuana, they will likely perform a sobriety test. Below are brief descriptions of the field sobriety tests that may be administered.
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus — During this test, the officer will evaluate your eyes to ensure that both pupils are equally sized and that both eyes can follow an object together. They will hold an object approximately 12-15 inches from your nose and move it slowly from side to side. You must follow the object with your eyes while keeping your head still.
- Walk and Turn Test — You will be required to walk, heel to toe, in a straight line, pivot, and then walk back while watching your feet, keeping your arms to the side, and counting your steps out loud.
- One-Leg Stand — In this test, you will have to raise one leg, keeping your foot about six inches off the ground and your arms to your sides. The officer will then instruct you to continue to look at your foot and count in thousands until they tell you to stop. During this test, the officer will watch for swaying, hopping, putting your foot down, or using your arms for balance.
If you refuse a field sobriety test, the officer will likely arrest you. They will also take you into custody if you fail two sobriety tests. When you get to the police station, you will be required to take a urine or blood test. You have the right to speak to your attorney before drug testing.
These tests are used to detect tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). However, it can be difficult to prove that a driver used marijuana prior to driving since the drug can remain in urine or blood samples for weeks after the last use.
Some officers are also trained as drug recognition experts (DRE). These officers are trained to recognize if a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. However, some courts in Maryland exclude testimony from these experts as there is a lack of scientific evidence in their testimony.
Penalties for a Marijuana DUI
If there are minuscule amounts of THC in your system, you may not be charged with a DUI as long as you’re not considered “under the influence” of marijuana. The penalties of a marijuana DUI are based on how many previous offenses you have.
- First offense — Maximum of 1 year in jail, a possible fine of up to $1,000, 12 points on your record, and driving privileges revoked
- Second offense — Maximum 2 years in jail, a fine of up to $2,000, and driving privileges revoked
- Third offense — Maximum 3 years in jail, a fine of up to $3,000, and driving privileges revoked
If you are found to be driving while impaired (DWI), the penalties are as follows.
- First offense — Maximum 60 days in jail, a $500 fine, 8 points on your record, and suspended driving privileges
- Second offense — Maximum one year in jail, a $500 fine, and driving privileges revoked
Along with these penalties, you will be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. And since Maryland has a 10-year look back period, that means if you have a DUI charge within the last ten years, you will end up serving more jail time and paying more significant fines.
Let Jeremy Widder Law Fight For You
Being convicted of a DUI can have devastating consequences. You could face stiff penalties and a criminal record, even if it’s your first offense. So if you or a loved one are facing a marijuana DUI charge, it’s crucial to have an experienced DUI lawyer to represent you.
At Jeremy Widder Law, we know how scary being charged with a crime can be. We have years of experience in criminal defense and have represented hundreds of clients charged with various offenses. We are dedicated to giving you a voice and will be by your side throughout the legal process.
Contact us today, and let’s get started.