person holding a marijuana joint and lighting it

Marijuana DUI: What You Need To Know

Marijuana DUI: What You Need To Know

Marijuana has been legalized for both medicinal and recreational purposes in multiple states around the country. In fact, there is legislation currently pending that may allow Georgia citizens more access to legal marijuana.

However, driving with marijuana in your system, whether it’s legal or not, can lead to a DUI charge.

Georgia Marijuana Laws

In Georgia, possessing, growing, using, and buying marijuana is illegal.

The city of Savannah recently decriminalized marijuana, but that does not mean it is legal.
Decriminalization means that simple possession of marijuana is no longer a criminal offense requiring an arrest to be made. Instead, it is an infraction with a fine of $150.

Georgia does allow for medical THC oil to be purchased and used by individuals with qualifying conditions.
Some of these conditions include:

  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Tourette's syndrome
  • HIV/AIDs

Marijuana DUI

Just as with alcohol, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated by marijuana.

You may be wondering, how can they prove this? After all, alcohol intoxication is evaluated by using a breathalyzer and/or field sobriety tests.

If an officer pulls you over for showing signs of impaired driving and smells marijuana coming from the vehicle, they will likely make an arrest. After the arrest, you may be required to take a chemical test.

Implied Consent

Georgia has implied consent laws. This means that when you drive in the state of Georgia, you automatically agree to take a chemical test when asked. This could be a breath or blood test.

Marijuana can not be measured using someone’s breath, so you would be asked to take a blood test.
If you refuse to take the blood test, you will encounter additional consequences.
Refusal can lead to the suspension of your driver’s license for one year.

The Blood Test

The blood test will check for any THC in the blood. However, THC stays in the blood long after the psychoactive effects of marijuana have worn off.

THC can remain in the blood for multiple days after the last use. This means that you may not have been high or feeling any psychoactive effects from marijuana while driving, but you could get a DUI anyway. The blood test won’t show that you were under the influence at the time of the arrest but simply that you had used marijuana at some point recently.

DUI Less Safe

DUI Less Safe laws state that you can be arrested if you are deemed too impaired to drive due to any amount of a substance in your system.
Evidence for this can be if you were:

  • Speeding
  • Swerving
  • Abruptly braking and accelerating

Because there is no legal limit for how much marijuana/THC can be in your system, marijuana DUI is a DUI less safe charge. All the officer must prove is that you were driving unsafely and had THC present in your blood test.

Penalties for Marijuana DUI

You can face serious consequences for driving under the influence of marijuana.

A first-offense can result in:

  • A fine of up to $1,000
  • Mandatory 24 hours in jail
  • Potentially up to a year in jail
  • Mandatory community service
  • Probation
  • A drug use risk reduction program
  • License suspension

A second offense may lead to all of the same penalties, but with an increased mandatory jail sentence of 72 hours as well as increased hours of community service.

Georgia Marijuana DUI Attorney

Having detectable THC in your blood does not prove that you were impaired at the time of the arrest. At The Lerch Law Firm, we will evaluate your case for free. Call today at (912) 417-5008 to get started with our Savannah DUI lawyer.