While decriminalization of marijuana is a trend throughout the nation, Virginia has not decriminalized marijuana, and it remains an illegal substance in Fairfax. Because it is still illegal, local prosecutors do pursue charges for anyone that possesses marijuana or has consumed marijuana and is operating a motor vehicle.
If you were charged with driving under the influence of marijuana, reach out to an experienced Fairfax marijuana DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Speaking with an experienced DUI attorney early in the DUI process could increase your chances at a favorable outcome. Call today to schedule a consultation and begin building a defense.
A marijuana DUI charge is a Class 1 Misdemeanor with the possible penalty of up to 12 months in jail as well as a 12-month loss of the defendant’s driver’s license. If a driver has a previous DUI conviction, whether through alcohol or drugs, the driver could possibly face a felony charge.
In a marijuana DUI case, the prosecution will first need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused was actually operating a motor vehicle (as defined in Virginia law). They also need to prove that the accused not only had marijuana present in their system but that they had marijuana present in their system at a level necessary to prove impairment.
Alcohol-based cases carry a presumption of impairment when the alcohol level in the blood is 0.08. In marijuana cases, however, there is no per se limit for THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol, the active intoxicating ingredient in marijuana) in the blood. This gray area gives a Fairfax marijuana DUI lawyer defense options that may not be available in an alcohol-related case.
Proving impairment in a marijuana DUI case requires more evidence than in alcohol-related DUI cases. Marijuana DUI cases are going to include a blood analysis that indicates whether THC is present in the driver’s blood and to what level that THC is expressed. However, a toxicologist is also going to be required to testify as to what those levels might mean for different individuals based on different marijuana use habits, different tolerance, and different body types. Marijuana does not have a uniform effect on drivers in the same way that alcohol does, and so marijuana DUI cases tend to include much more specific testimony when the prosecution is trying to prove impairment.
Because marijuana DUIs require such specific evidence, a skilled marijuana DUI attorney has many opportunities to contest the prosecutor’s evidence. It is important to hire a lawyer who has experience defending against marijuana DUI cases so that the accused can rest assured that their attorney will pursue every available defense in the case.
If you were accused of driving under the influence, you should hire a Fairfax marijuana DUI lawyer soon, regardless of whether you know what the results of the blood tests are yet. Ideally, you should have an attorney by your side before speaking to law enforcement or prosecutors. Let a dedicated criminal defense attorney fight for you and exploit every weakness in the prosecution’s case.