• Coastal South Law

Marijuana-Related Driving While Impaired (DWI) Offenses


When many of us hear about another driving while impaired (DWI) accident, we wonder how much alcohol the driver had consumed. But alcohol is not the only intoxicant that can lead to a DWI. Other substances have the ability to cause one to become impaired to the point of being unable to operate a motor vehicle, according to the law. These substances include marijuana, controlled substances, and prescription drugs. Today, we will address marijuana-related DWIs.


In order to be charged for driving while impaired, the driver must actually be impaired. With alcohol-related driving, the law tells us that if the individual has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher, they can be charged with a DWI. With marijuana, however, it is not quite as simple. How much marijuana makes an individual “impaired?”


THC is the ingredient in marijuana that causes the user to feel high. State law does not provide for a certain amount of THC in the bloodstream that would qualify a driver as impaired. The rate at which marijuana is absorbed into the bloodstream depends on how the user consumes the product. Vaping or smoking increases the rate of absorption, whereas consuming an edible will take longer. Additionally, unlike alcohol, marijuana can stay in your system for days or even weeks.


Impaired driving from marijuana can be more difficult for the state to prove because they do not have an easy number to rely on to indicate ‘intoxication,’ like they do for alcohol. As such, a large portion of the prosecution’s case will rely on what the officer witnessed and how the driver performed on the field sobriety tests. These may include the horizontal gaze nystagmus, walk the line, and one leg stand tests. The officer will also testify as to how the defendant looked and smelled.


Possible Signs of Impairment

  • How was the defendant’s driving?

  • Was the driver swerving all over the road?

  • Did the driver obey traffic signs and lights?

  • Was the driver going the speed limit? Way over? Way under?

  • Did the defendant have bloodshot eyes?

  • Did the driver fumble around for a license, registration or proof of insurance?

  • Did the defendant smell like marijuana?

  • Did the defendant stumble while trying to exit the vehicle?

  • Was the defendant giving cogent answers to the officer’s questions?

  • How many clues were detected on the roadside tests?

Hiring an attorney whois well-versed in the defense of marijuana-related DWIs can mean the difference between spending time in jail or going home without a conviction.


Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Today


There are many possible defenses for a DWI case. Were you recently pulled over for Driving While Impaired? Have you already been charged with Driving While Impaired? At Coastal South Law, our experienced criminal defense attorneys are ready to fight for you in the criminal justice system both inside and outside of the courtroom. You do not have to go through this difficult time alone. Having a tough negotiator and litigator on your side can make all the difference. Pick up the phone today and call 910-253-0411 or visit us online at www.coastalsouthlaw.com.


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