You can still get arrested for a Marijuana DUI

Even with the legalize pot movement gaining steam across the nation, you can still get arrested for a Marijuana DUI in PA.  There have been a number of marijuana DUI cases recently in Harrisburg and the surrounding areas.

Penalties for a Marijuana DUI

The penalties of a Marijuana DUI are very serious.  That is because these cases are prosecuted in the “highest impairment” category.  These charges carry penalties like:

  • Up to six months in jailmarijuana-leaf
  • Up to $5,000 in fines
  • at least a 12 months license suspension

and these are for a first offense.  If you have a prior offense, you will face even more severe penalties.

What defenses are there for Marijuana DUIs?

The most common “evidence” for a marijuana DUI charge is a cop claiming they smelled weed on you.  We can challenge this in a number of ways.

  1. Just because you smell like weed, doesn’t mean you were the one smoking it. The odor can be from someone smoking next to you.
  2. There are many substances that can produce odors similar to marijuana. There are even perfumes like Kush Perfume which smell like marijuana. So, to say that something smells like “smells like pot” is arbitrary.
  3. Smelling a substance does not count as direct evidence of possession or use. It’s a non-standardized, non-scientific and completely subjective approach.
  4. Each person’s sense of smell is likely to be at a different level. This makes the idea of using a smell as confirmation of marijuana usage very misleading.
  5. Bias comes from an officer having a pre-conceived notion of someone smoking marijuana. If there is a strong smell, that confirms this bias, whether that’s right or wrong.

The idea that that something “smells like marijuana” reports a completely unverifiable, subjective opinion. It’s unreliable and unscientific and should not be sufficient to charge you with the crime of driving under the influence of marijuana.

If you have been falsely accused of a marijuana violation, please call 1-866-MCSHANE to find out what we can do about it.

PA DUI attorney Justin J. McShane is the President/CEO of The McShane Firm, LLC - Pennsylvania's top criminal law and DUI law firm. He is the highest rated DUI attorney in PA as rated by Avvo.com. Justin McShane is a double Board certified attorney. He is the first and so far the only Pennsylvania attorney to achieve American Bar Association recognized board certification in DUI defense from the National College for DUI Defense, Inc. He is also a Board Certified Criminal Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, a Pennsylvania Supreme Court Approved Agency.

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