Medical marijuana is currently legal in 21 states. Two of these states, Washington and Colorado, have legalized the recreational use of marijuana as well. In Georgia, marijuana possession is still a misdemeanor (if 1oz or less), and consequently, it is against the law to drive with cannabis in your bloodstream.
Even when the effects of marijuana wear off, the drug may still be in your bloodstream. Marijuana's active ingredient is THC (short for Tetrahydrocannabinol). Depending on the type of THC, it can remain in a person's system for anywhere between 20 hours and 13 days. Police often use urine tests if they suspect that someone they stopped may be under the influence of marijuana.
Unlike blood and breath testing for alcohol intoxication, urine drug tests cannot indicate a level of impairment. With alcohol, the legal threshold is .08 percent blood alcohol content (the ratio of alcohol to blood). With marijuana and other drugs, even prescription drugs, there is no such threshold.
According to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA), § 40-6-391, it is illegal to "drive or be in actual physical control of any moving vehicle while… under the influence of any drug to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive."
We see here that a certain amount or concentration of marijuana is not necessary to warrant a drugged driving charge, only that the marijuana is present.
If you were recently charged with driving under the influence of marijuana or another drug in Gwinnett County, you could be faced with penalties such as:
- $300-$1,000 fine
- 10 days to 12 months' imprisonment
- 40 hours of community service
- Drug Use Risk Reduction Program (a DDS program)
- Up to 1 year of probation
The Georgia Department of Driver Services will also suspend your driver's license unless you request an ALS hearing and you are successful at that hearing. If you have been previously convicted of an offense under § 40-6-391, then the penalties could be more severe.
Contact a Gwinnett County DUI attorney at The Law Offices of Richard S. Lawson today if you need strong defense against drugged driving charges involving marijuana.