Marijuana DUID Defense
Advocating for the Accused in Alexandria, VA & the District of Columbia
When a law enforcement officer stops your vehicle and believes that marijuana is impairing your ability to drive safely, you may be charged with driving under the influence of drugs (DUID).
Although Washington, DC and Maryland have decriminalized marijuana possession, Alexandria, VA still prohibits possessing marijuana in any amount, therefore you could face drug possession charges in addition to DUID if you have marijuana in your vehicle or on your person at the time of your traffic stop. These charges can mean additional jail time and fines if you are convicted, so you need an experienced marijuana DUID defense attorney from S.L. England, PLLC to fight for you.
Marijuana DUID Penalties
Alexandria, VA’s driving while intoxicated (DWI) law covers alcohol-related and marijuana-related impaired driving. Thus, if you are convicted of a marijuana DUID, you will face the same penalties as you would for driving under the influence of alcohol, although such penalties increase for subsequent convictions. The look-back period in Alexandria, VA is 10 years.
- First offense: Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by a mandatory minimum fine of $250.
- Second offense within five years: Mandatory minimum fine of $500 and 20 days in jail in addition to between one month and one year of extra jail time.
- Second offense within five to ten years: Mandatory minimum fine of $500 and 10 days in jail.
- Third conviction within five years: Class 6 felony punishable by a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000 and 90 days in jail.
- Fourth or subsequent conviction within 10 years: Mandatory minimum fines of $1,000 and one-year imprisonment.
If law enforcement finds marijuana in your vehicle or on your person during the traffic stop, you could face additional penalties for misdemeanor marijuana possession. For a first offense, you could be sentenced to a $500 fine and 30 days in jail.
The District of Columbia legalized less than two ounces of marijuana for persons who are 21 years of age or older and decriminalized less than one ounce for people of any age. However, these laws do not impact the District’s DUI laws. Thus, like Alexandria, VA, DC law imposes the same penalties for marijuana DUID as it does for driving under the influence of alcohol. They include:
- First marijuana DUID offense: Punishable by up to $1,000 fines and/or a maximum of 180 days in jail. The mandatory minimum jail time is 15 days if your blood or urine contains a Schedule 1 chemical or controlled substance.
- Second marijuana DUID offense: Punishable by $2,500 to $5,000 fines and/or 10 days to 1 year in jail. The mandatory minimum jail time is as follows 20 days if your blood or urine contains a Schedule 1 chemical or controlled substance.
- Third marijuana DUID offense: Punishable by $2,500 to $10,000 fines and/or 15 days to 1 year in jail. The mandatory minimum jail time is 25 days if your blood or urine contains a Schedule 1 chemical or controlled substance.
- Fourth marijuana DUID offense: Punishable by up to $10,000 fines and an additional 30-day mandatory minimum term of incarceration for each additional violation.
Medical Marijuana DUID in Alexandria, VA & Washington, DC
Unlike other states that allow medical marijuana cardholders to grow their own marijuana plants or possess small amounts of cannabis for smoking, Alexandria, VA’s medical marijuana law limits legal possession to products that contain cannabidiol (CBD) oil or THC-A oil and requires a valid written certification from a doctor. If you are a registered medical marijuana patient in Alexandria, VA, your doctor must state that these products may relieve your diagnosed disease or condition.
In addition, you should have your written certification with you any time you have your CBD oil or THC-A oil with you outside of your home to best avoid an unfavorable encounter with the police. Remember, you can only obtain CBD oil or THC-A oil from one of Alexandria, VA’s five licensed dispensaries located in Bristol, Portsmouth, Staunton, Manassas, and Richmond.
These dispensaries can only sell a 90-day supply to each patient, which limits the amount you can legally have in your possession at any time. Products may not contain more than five percent of THC, meaning their use will not impair your driving. Possession of whole-leaf cannabis and other marijuana products remains illegal.
In DC, a person who was issued a Medical Marijuana Card by the District Department of Health may possess up to two ounces of medical marijuana per month and grow up to six marijuana plants in their primary residence, all of which must be consumed or smoked on private property. However, using medical marijuana in any public place in Washington, DC is still a criminal offense that can result in arrest and serious legal punishments upon conviction, such as:
- 60 days in jail or a $500 fine for smoking or consuming marijuana in public
- Six months in jail or a $1,000 fine for selling marijuana
Building Defenses to Marijuana DUI Charges
The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for impaired driving is 0.08 percent, but marijuana does not have an equivalent threshold amount that determines impairment. Having marijuana in your system does not expressly prove that it impaired your ability to drive. With this in mind, the prosecution must prove to the judge or jury “beyond a reasonable doubt” that you were driving while impaired and marijuana caused the impairment in order to get convicted of marijuana DUID.
No existing breath test detects marijuana, although that may change in the future, which is why law enforcement must collect a blood or urine sample to prove you have marijuana in your system. For background, alcohol only remains in your bloodstream for a short time depending on the amount consumed and your metabolism.
Marijuana, however, can remain in your blood and urine for two days after use or longer if you are a frequent user. Thus, having marijuana in your blood or urine does not necessarily mean that it impaired your ability to drive safely at the time of the traffic stop because you may have used marijuana several days earlier, for example.
When you retain our marijuana DUID lawyer to defend you, we can challenge your chemical test results, the collection method, or the chain of custody of your blood or urine sample. There is a chance that law enforcement and associated medical personnel did not follow exact procedures or mishandled your samples, resulting in contamination. Our attorney can also challenge the basis of the traffic stop, as law enforcement must have a valid reason to stop your vehicle.
Call Our Experienced Marijuana DUID Attorney in DC & Alexandria, VA
Marijuana DUID cases require blood and urine testing, which creates unique legal issues that we can evaluate on your behalf. Unlike alcohol, simply having marijuana in your system does not indicate impairment. Thus, you need an experienced marijuana DUID lawyer from S.L. England, PLLC, who understands the stringent requirements for blood tests and can effectively challenge the basis of the traffic stop, the chain of custody, or the sample collection and testing methods.
Your marijuana DUID case is best handled by an attorney who obtains federal prosecutorial insights and extensive experience in representing clients in your position, which is why you can count on us to build the strongest defense for you.