More and more people are using medical marijuana for a variety of conditions. However, Pennsylvania law has not addressed the nuances of how or whether a medical marijuana patient should be charged with DUI if they are pulled over. Even if a driver is legally authorized to use cannabis and they are not high or impaired, if THC shows up on a drug test they can be charged with DUI. A drug DUI conviction can have serious consequences, so if you or a loved one has been charged it is critical to seek the counsel of an experienced Chester Country criminal defense attorney.
Pennsylvania Marijuana DUI Laws
Many other states require proof of impairment or have per se THC limits for operating a vehicle, but Pennsylvania has a zero-tolerance policy for marijuana – hitting the road with more than one (1) nanogram/milliliter of THC or cannabis metabolites in your system is still a crime. Because trace amounts of marijuana can be found in a blood test for up to 30 days, even if a person did not recently use it they can still face the same harsh penalties as a driver with a high blood alcohol content.
Although lawmakers in the Pennsylvania House voted to amend the DUI law to decriminalize trace amounts of marijuana for medical users, it has not been passed by the PA Senate and signed into law. This means that the commonwealth’s 368,000 medical marijuana patients could still face license suspension, months of jail time and hefty fines for a DUI conviction.
If a bill amending current drug DUI penalties is signed into law, police and prosecutors would need to prove that a licensed medical marijuana patient is impaired while driving instead of relying on a blood test to show that they used marijuana. DUI attorneys are keeping a close eye on this legislation and consider it a big win for medical marijuana patients if it becomes law.
Contact an Attorney if You Have Been Charged with DUI
Regardless of what type of charges you may be facing, it is always a good idea to have an experienced West Chester criminal lawyer by your side. Even if you have already been convicted of a DUI due to marijuana use, a defense attorney can help you apply for a pardon. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has already signed more than 300 pardons for people who were convicted of charges relating to marijuana, including some non-violent offenders who were convicted of illegal marijuana possession.
Although new legislation and Governor’s pardons are positive signs that the stigma surrounding marijuana use is changing, medical users are still being convicted of DUI. A good defense attorney fights for your rights and may be able to get charges reduced or dismissed, which can help you avoid the personal, professional, and emotional fallout from a marijuana DUI conviction.
Have you been charged with a DUI or another marijuana-related crime? Our experienced criminal defense attorneys and Chester county felony lawyers can help.