Virginia Marijuana DUI Lawyer
Marijuana is still illegal to possess, consume, or distribute in Virginia. Any interaction with marijuana in Virginia can be problematic.
If you are stopped and charged with driving under the influence after having smoked marijuana and the police conduct a blood test to determine the active level of THC in your blood, you will be charged with a DUI. In this situation, it is of the utmost importance that you hire a Virginia attorney who is well-versed on defending DUI cases of all sorts. A Virginia marijuana DUI lawyer can work to build a solid case for you.
Marijuana DUI Penalties
A marijuana DUI carries the same weight that a DUI that is based on alcohol or any other drugs would. The penalties for it are identical to all other DUIs. If an individual is charged with a DUI that is based upon consumption of marijuana, that person is going to be facing the same penalties as a person would if they are charged with a DUI based on the consumption of alcohol. If it is the first offense, a person is going to be facing a 12-month loss of license or a requirement to go to VASAP, which is the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program.
That person will be eligible to get their license restricted to go to and from work, to school, to take one’s kids to and from school or daycare, to medical appointments, as well as to and from the VASAP program that the person is required to complete. In addition that, if it is a first offense with no aggravating factors, a person will have suspended jail time, meaning no active jail time to serve and a fine in the $300 to $500 range.
Differences Between Marijuana and Alcohol Based DUI Cases
Marijuana and alcohol-based DUI cases are different in the sense that drug DUI cases are going to involve a blood test. Most alcohol-based cases involve a breath test. The trial process is going to be slightly different because in a blood case the government is going to need to present much more evidence to establish that whatever level of active THC was in the person’s blood is enough to indicate significant impairment to qualify as being illegal under the code of Virginia.
All of the testimonial evidence is going to be the same in terms of the traffic stop, field sobriety tests, and everything else leading up to the arrest. What is different is that all marijuana-based cases result in a blood test as opposed to most alcohol-based cases result in a breath test.
Elements the Prosecution Must Prove
The prosecution needs to prove that the person had a level of active THC in their blood, meaning they were actually under the influence of the drug and it is not residual THC that would show up days or weeks after smoking marijuana. Then they would also need to prove that the person’s active TCH level is high enough to present significant impairment.
A Virginia marijuana lawyer can do this in a number of different ways: One, the officer who arrested the person would testify about that officer’s observations on the road to include driving behavior, field sobriety tests, and general interactions with the defendant. But they will also do it scientifically with an expert who would come to court to testify about the impact that a certain THC level might have on a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.
Importance of Getting in Touch With an Attorney
All marijuana DUI cases are going to involve blood tests and blood tests are significantly more complicated than breath tests. Most lawyers do not understand all of the nuances of blood testing. Contacting a Virginia marijuana DUI lawyer who is experienced in handling blood cases, and knowing what to look for in blood cases, is absolutely critical to your defense.