Facing Marijuana DUI Charges? Emerald City Can Help
DUIs in Washington based on marijuana use and THC concentrations can be very complex. They are not something you want to handle alone. These cases require an experienced and effective marijuana DUI attorney. At Emerald City Law Group, we know how to handle a drugged driving allegation, what gets results, and how to protect your license. We’re ready to review the details and aggressively fight for the best possible outcome. Let us help so your record doesn’t go up in smoke.
From dismissals to minimizing the impact of a cannabis-related DUI, contact Emerald City Law Group for an unmatched defense.
Based in Seattle, We Assist People Across Washington and Offer Virtual Consultations. Initial Consults are Free, Confidential, and We’re Available 24/7 to Answer Your Questions.
Washington Marijuana DUI Offenses
Failing to handle a DUI for marijuana properly can result in lifelong consequences. You may face time in jail, job loss, significant fines, license suspension, and more. It’s essential to work closely with a marijuana DUI lawyer who will fight to get you the best possible resolution.
- First-Time Marijuana DUI
- Underage Marijuana DUI
- Marijuana DUI with THC over 5.0
- Marijuana DUI with THC under 5.0
Marijuana DUIs: What You Need to Know
Most states, Washington included, have provisions for drug-related impairment while driving a vehicle. Under Washington DUI law, Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 46.61.502, you can be found guilty of a DUI if you drive a car within the state and you are driving while intoxicated by drugs, alcohol, or marijuana.
Washington’s Marijuana (THC) Driving Limit
RCW 46.61.504 outlines the legal parameters for DUI charges related to alcohol and drug intoxication in Washington, emphasizing that a person can be charged and convicted if found in actual physical control of a vehicle while impaired. This includes scenarios where an individual is not driving but is in the vehicle with access to the controls, with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher or a THC concentration of 5 ng/mL or higher within two hours of the incident. Additionally, charges can be filed if a person is influenced by or affected by alcohol or drugs, including marijuana, while in control of a vehicle.
The law extends to cover various situations of vehicle control, indicating that an arrest and charge can be made based on observable signs of impairment, even in the absence of specific THC levels. For instance, sitting in a running vehicle or having the vehicle keys within reach can be deemed as having actual physical control, leading to potential DUI or Physical Control charges.
The officer’s judgment plays a crucial role, as observable signs of drug-related impairment can result in an arrest, and prosecutors might proceed with charges, aiming for a conviction, even if subsequent blood tests reveal a THC concentration below 5.0.
Underage Marijuana DUIs
If you are under 21, a different standard applies to you while driving. Based on RCW 46.61.503, you can be arrested for a DUI if you have a BAC of .02 or higher or have any THC in your blood within two hours of driving. Any detectable THC in your blood when you are underage can have serious consequences.
Washington Marijuana DUI Penalties
A marijuana DUI is a gross misdemeanor and is punishable by
- Up to 364 days in jail
- Up to a $5,000 fine
- License suspension and an Ignition Interlock requirement
Depending on the situation, you may also be ordered to participate in drug assessment and Complete any treatment recommended by the assessment.
A Cannabis-Related DUI & Your License
In Washington, a marijuana DUI can lead to immediate and severe consequences for your driving privileges. Upon arrest, you have 7 days to request a hearing with the Department of Licensing (DOL) to contest an impending license suspension, ranging from at least 90 days, depending on prior offenses. Even after serving the suspension period, reinstating your license requires paying fees, providing proof of financial responsibility, and potentially installing an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for a mandated duration.
Commercial drivers face harsher repercussions, with a first-time DUI offense resulting in a one-year CDL disqualification and a second offense leading to a lifetime ban. Drivers under 21 face a zero-tolerance policy, and there are provisions for a restricted license allowing travel for work, school, and treatment purposes during suspension.
Legal representation is highly recommended to navigate these complex proceedings and mitigate the impact on your driving rights.
Collateral Consequences of a Marijuana DUI
A conviction for a gross misdemeanor for a marijuana DUI creates a permanent criminal record that can lead to:
- Difficulty getting into college.
- Difficulty obtaining financial aid, including grants and scholarships.
- Ineligibility for or difficulty obtaining specific professional licenses.
- Difficulty getting a job or moving up in your career.
- Difficulty being approved for housing.
- Effects on your immigration status, including a visa, permanent residency, or citizenship.
- Difficulty traveling abroad, including to Canada.
Handling a Marijuana DUI in King County
If you violate Seattle’s impaired driving laws related to weed, you will be arrested and booked. Law Enforcement will photograph and fingerprint you before releasing you on bail or with conditions.
Your first court appearance will be an arraignment, where you will be informed of your official charges. You will have the opportunity to enter a plea of not guilty, or guilty.
Your marijuana DUI lawyer will review the evidence and begin negotiations with the prosecutor to get your charges reduced. They may also file legal motions to get your case dismissed entirely. If no resolutions are reached, you may proceed to trial.
Defending Against Marijuana DUIs in Washington
Defending against a marijuana DUI charge can be challenging, but several defenses may be available. Some of the most common marijuana DUI defenses include:
- Illegal Stop or Arrest: If the police officer did not have reasonable suspicion to stop your vehicle or arrest you, any evidence obtained because of the stop may be suppressed.
- Flawed Field Sobriety Tests: Field sobriety tests (FSTs) can be inaccurate or unreliable for various reasons, such as medical conditions, fatigue, or environmental factors. If you performed poorly on FSTs, your attorney may be able to challenge the results.
- Inaccurate BAC Test Results: Breath and blood tests are not always accurate, and several factors can interfere with the results, such as certain medications, procedural or administration errors, errors maintaining the testing equipment, or medical conditions. Your attorney may be able to challenge the results of your breathalyzer or blood test if there is evidence that it was inaccurate.
- Medical Conditions that Mimic Intoxication: Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or hypoglycemia, can mimic the symptoms of intoxication. If you have a medical condition that could explain your symptoms, your attorney may be able to use this as a defense.
Every DUI case is different, and the best defense strategy will vary depending on the facts of your case.
Washington Marijuana DUI Info & Resources
Our marijuana DUI attorneys are here to help you navigate the Washington criminal justice system. We have answers to your questions. If you need additional information, contact Emerald City Law Group immediately.
Can You Get a DUI for Weed in Washington?
Yes, you can get a DUI for consuming weed in Washington. The state has a per se limit of 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood for drivers over 21. If you have more than this limit in your blood within two hours of driving, you can be charged with a DUI, even if you are not exhibiting any signs of impairment. However, even if you have less than 5 nanograms of THC in your blood, you can still be arrested if you do show signs of impairment.
Is Medical Marijuana a Defense in a DUI Case?
Medical marijuana is not an affirmative defense under Washington law. However, it may be an important factor in your case. We will aggressively fight for the charges to be dismissed based on any legal or evidentiary deficiencies. If prosecutors proceed with charges, we will put forward evidence that you were not impaired during the traffic stop. We will also discuss your prescription as part of our negotiation with the prosecutor to shed light on the reason for your consumption.
Can I Refuse a Blood Test for a Marijuana DUI?
While you can refuse a blood test, doing so can result in automatic penalties, including a license suspension and fines, due to Washington’s implied consent law. This law states that by operating a vehicle in the state, you have implicitly agreed to submit to breath testing at the police station if suspected of DUI. Refusing the breath test at the station can also be used against you in court, potentially strengthening the prosecution’s case.
Can I Drive with Marijuana in My Vehicle in Washington?
It is legal to transport marijuana in your vehicle in Washington if it is within the legal possession limits, the product is sealed, and it is stored in the trunk, or another area of the vehicle not normally occupied by the driver or passengers. Driving with an open container of marijuana or consuming marijuana while driving is illegal and can result in a DUI charge or traffic infraction.
Don’t Wait. Call a Marijuana DUI Lawyer
Emerald City Law Group is ready to fight for you. We know you may not be able to contact an attorney right away. In that case, you can have a friend or family member call Emerald City Law Group. We will help them understand the marijuana DUI legal process and how to get you out of jail.
Emerald City Law Group Will:
- Explain Washington marijuana laws and your legal rights.
- Investigate the facts of your case and gather evidence to support you.
- Negotiate with the prosecution to reduce your charges.
- Challenge the prosecution’s evidence, including your blood tests.
- Communicate with you throughout the case.
- Represent you in court and argue your defense.
Defense Attorneys Serving Washington – Free Consults 24/7
Emerald City Law Group provides Seattle and the greater Washington area with high-caliber legal representation for those facing marijuana DUI-related accusations.
Seattle – Local Areas Served
- King County – Bellevue, Auburn, Kent, Renton, Federal Way, Kirkland, Redmond, Bothell, Carnation, Duvall, Issaquah, Maple Valley, Mercer Island, Sammamish, Seattle, & Woodinville
- Snohomish County – Everett, Lynnwood, and Marysville.
- Pierce County – Tacoma, Puyallup, Gig Harbor, and Lakewood
- Grays Harbor
- Kittitas County
- Spokane County
- Cowlitz County
- Douglas County
- Mason County
- Skagit County
- Thurston County
- Island County
- Mason County
- Grays County
- Kitsap County
- Lewis County
- Whatcom County
- Whitman County
- San Juan County