Can You Be Charged with DUI if You Were Smoking Marijuana?

Does a DUI apply to marijuana? Most people assume that the DUI laws only apply to people who are caught drunk driving. The truth is that most DUI arrests are the result of people who were pulled over after drinking alcohol. However, there is also a growing number of people who are arrested for DUI because they were under the influence of drugs. In fact, Charleston DUI attorneys get calls from these defendants more often than you may think.

It doesn’t matter what type of drugs a person takes. If the police suspect that the driver is under the influence of anything that makes it unsafe for them to drive, they can arrest them. If the driver happens to have drugs in their possession, the cops can test them right there at the traffic stop.

If there are no drugs on their person or in their car, the cops will simply submit them to a drug test. This test, of course, can’t be done on the side of the road. Instead, the police can take the suspect to the local hospital and have then take a test there. Some precincts may even have the ability to do a urine test right there in the station. If this happens and you’re arrested for DUI, you should call an experienced Charleston DUI attorney. They’ll do their best to get the charges against you reduced or dismissed. But you must call them immediately if you want them to be there by your side throughout the legal process.

All the Police Must Show is a Reasonable Suspicion that You Were Under the Influence

All the police need to pull someone over for DUI is a reasonable suspicion that they’re driving under the influence. If they see your vehicle weaving or rolling through a stop sign, they may think that you’re intoxicated. The same is true if they pull up next to you at a red light and see you smoking marijuana or drinking a beer. If this is the case, they certainly have every right to pull you over. It’s what they do after they pull your vehicle over that matters.

If the police don’t handle the traffic stop properly, your Charleston DUI attorney may be able to get some of the State’s evidence thrown out. It all depends on what happens during the stop and arrest. If, for example, the police officer makes you do a field sobriety test that is unreasonable, your attorney may be able to show that the evidence is tainted. The same is true if you can prove they had no good reason to pull you over in the first place.

Police in North Carolina are Trained on How to Spot Someone Who is High

Police officers in Charleston are trained on how to spot a drunk driver. The same is true for drivers who are under the influence of drugs. If you’re pulled over, the officers are going to look for some of the following signs that you may be under the influence of marijuana:

  • Odor of marijuana
  • They see the drugs or paraphernalia in plain sight
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Slurred words
  • Sweating
  • Nervousness

Any of these can be a sign that someone is drunk or high. If the police believe you can’t safely operate a motor vehicle, they’re going to have no choice but to arrest you.

The Charges Will Be the Same as if You Had Been Drinking

Charges for a DUI due to drugs are the same as they are for drinking and driving. However, if you’re caught with illegal drugs in your possession, they can also charge you with drug-related offenses. These crimes will carry penalties far beyond those for a DUI. Your Charleston DUI attorney will try to negotiate a deal with the prosecutor so that these charges are dropped or at least reduced. It all depends on the facts of your case and your criminal history.

The State Will Ensure a Urine or Blood Test Are Done

If you are arrested for driving while under the influence of drugs, the cops are going to take you to the hospital for a blood or urine test. This test will be done immediately after your arrest, so the results aren’t stale. If they waited several hours, the alcohol in your blood would start to dissipate.

This isn’t the case for illicit drugs. They have a longer half-life and don’t metabolize as fast as alcohol. This means they’ll have proof of what drugs were in your system at the time of your arrest. Rather than wait until this process is completed, you should call an experienced Charleston DUI attorney right away so they can be there by your side.