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Question: Can I be charged for a DUI if I take Prescription Marijuana?

Cannabis_sativa_leaf_Dorsal_aspect_2012_01_23_0830While medical marijuana will be legal in about 18 to 24 months from now, it may cause a problem with the charge of DUI Drugs (DUID). That is because the inactive chemical (the metabolite) in marijuana (Delta 9 carboxy THC) can remain in the bloodstream for weeks. If a cop pulls you over you could get cited for a DUID and the blood tests would likely support that charge.

Even if you claim that you are legally taking marijuana for a medical condition (as a Pennsylvania or other state medical marijuana licensee), you may still be arrested if the officer believes that your driving is impaired. At that point you may have to submit to a blood test or refuse to take the test. Refusal to submit to drug testing can be admitted into evidence against the driver in a criminal case as “consciousness of guilt” and it will carry with it a potential loss of license of 12-18 regardless of the outcome of your criminal case. If the test returns positive even for the inactive metabolite, then the State of PA may prosecute you for a DUID.

Consequently in PA , any DUID conviction (even if you are a documented patient) carries with it penalties in the Highest Tier. If convicted for a first offense, you can face up to six months jail term, up to $5000 fine, 1 year license suspension. Not to mention that a DUID stays on your record for background checks. It brings with it higher car insurance premiums and the social stigma attached stays with the person for a lifetime.

This is why it is important to get the best legal help available when dealing with complex cases like DUI prescription drugs. The attorneys at The McShane Firm are highly trained in the scientific and medical aspects of these cases and have the experience needed to protect your rights. Please call 1-866-MCSHANE for a free consultation.

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