Marijuana and DUI laws in Washington
In 2012, Washington voted to legalize recreational marijuana use. Legal sales to the public began in July of 2014. This created a unique situation for law enforcement, tasked with keeping the state’s roads safe now that drivers could legally possess marijuana.
Washington’s DUI statutes prohibit driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or any other drug that impairs driving, whether it is a prescribed medication, legalized marijuana, or even over the counter medication.
When an officer suspects a driver is under the influence of marijuana, it is standard to conduct field sobriety tests similar to a suspected alcohol-related DUI. Drivers should know their rights and refuse these tests as they are likely to give officers probable cause to arrest you.
Washington statute I-502, established in 2012, set the legal limit of THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) that drivers can have in their system and safely operate a motor vehicle. A blood test is used to determine the THC content in the driver’s blood stream. Those testing greater than 0.05 nanograms of THC will be charged with a DUI and face the same consequences as an alcohol DUI.
If you are charged with a marijuana DUI, the first step is to contact an experienced lawyer who can inform you of your rights and review your case.