When people think about DUI, they often picture a drunk driver moving recklessly on a highway, not someone consuming medicinal marijuana. However, while DUI usually involves alcohol-induced intoxication, drunkenness isn’t the only culprit in such cases. In South Carolina, DUI laws also apply to mental impairment due to drug use. So, if you were caught driving under the influence of drugs in Charleston, search for the best DUI defense lawyer near me ASAP.
Marijuana is one of the most commonly abused drugs and often the culprit in Charleston DUI cases. However, while many drivers take the drug for recreational purposes, your physician can prescribe medicinal marijuana because of a medical condition. Therefore, such cases should be one of the exceptions to the DUI laws, don’t you think?
Yes, it seems logical that carrying your medicinal marijuana with you while driving should exempt you from a DUI arrest. However, the only way to know for sure is to look at what the law says concerning such situations. Fortunately, this article will provide answers to all the questions you may have regarding medicinal marijuana and DUI in Charleston.
What’s the Difference Between an Alcohol-Related and Drug-Related DUI in Charleston?
First, it’s important to note that the law doesn’t differentiate between drug and alcohol-related DUIs. So if either substance caused your impairment, you’re at high risk of a DUI charge.
However, the primary difference between both circumstances is in the test required. While standardized field sobriety tests apply to alcohol-induced DUI, drug recognition examination testing applies to DUI drug cases.
In other words, you’ll not need to take a breathalyzer test in drug-related DUI cases. Instead, you may have to take a blood or urine test to measure your body system’s drug level. In addition, in many DUI drug cases, a qualified Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) will be called to give testimony during a trial.
A DRE is a police officer with expertise in identifying impairment in drivers who are under the influence of drugs. They’ll also identify the category of drugs that caused your impairment. These drug categories usually include one of the following:
- Central nervous system depressants
- CNS stimulants
- Dissociative anesthetics
- Narcotic analgesics
- Cannabis (marijuana)
Another difference between drug and alcohol DUI is in the legal limits. According to South Carolina law, operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.8% or more is illegal. However, there is no predetermined “legal limit” for drug use on South Carolina roads. Whether or not you’ll be arrested because you appear to be intoxicated depends on the law enforcement officers involved.
What if I Have a Prescription for the Medicinal Marijuana That Triggered My Charge of Driving While Intoxicated?
The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has a lengthy list of medications it considers to be impairing substances. Although the list isn’t all-inclusive, it includes several legal and illicit substances that can make it difficult for you to drive. Simply put, you can be guilty of DUI if any substance affects your driving ability. Unfortunately, South Carolina’s DUI laws have no exception for drugs obtained based on a doctor’s prescription.
In other words, your reason for taking the substance doesn’t matter when it comes to Charleston drug DUI. The law doesn’t care whether you abuse the substance or not. If law enforcement finds that the substance impeded your driving ability, you could still be charged with a DUI. That’s even if you took the medication exactly as your doctor instructed.
The fact is that every motorist in Charleston is responsible for any action of theirs that may harm other road users. As such, they must do everything within their power to avoid posing a threat to other motorists. In addition, many of the prescriptions carry warnings to avoid driving while taking medicinal marijuana. So, violating this rule translates to consenting to DUI and purposely putting others in harm’s way.
In summary, if the substance you took makes it impossible for you to drive unimpaired, you are responsible for it. It’s the same thing when you combine it with other substances that increase your risk of intoxication. In South Carolina, voluntary intoxication, whether by drugs or alcohol, is not an acceptable excuse for a DUI.
What Happens Following a Drugged Driving Charge in South Carolina?
Drug DUI cases are similar to alcohol DUI charges. After your arrest, you only have limited time to ask for an administrative law hearing if your driver’s license was suspended. Whether they lift or sustain your license suspension depends on the outcome of this hearing. You’ll also need to defend your DUI charge in a criminal court after your arrest.
If the court finds you guilty of DUI, you’ll be penalized. These punishments include jail time, fines, license suspension for an extended period, etc.
DUI convicts may also face these consequences:
Increased Car Insurance Rates
A DUI almost always results in a considerable increase in your auto insurance rates. In many cases, you might have to spend twice as much on insurance. The average national increase in auto insurance rates for drivers with DUIs is 74%, per Forbes Advisor’s analysis.
Mandatory South Carolina Alcohol and Drug Safety Program (ADSAP) Attendance
The court may mandate you attend ADSAP meetings for DUI convicts.
Extra SR-22 Insurance
Before getting your license restored, you might have to obtain a specific kind of extra insurance. In addition, you will be required to pay your insurance provider to notify the court in writing that you have this particular policy.
Why Do I Need the Best DUI Defense Lawyer Near Me for My Marijuana Use Case?
There are many reasons why you need a DUI defense attorney to handle your medicinal marijuana case. They include:
- Expert legal advice
- Strong legal defenses
- Legal representation in court
- Increased chances of case dismissal
- Emotional support
Stop Searching for the Best DUI Defense Lawyer Near Me and Contact Us Now!
Are you facing charges for medicinal marijuana-induced DUI? Do not presume that you are guilty by default or that you can speak for yourself in court. South Carolina DUI laws and penalties remain among the toughest in the country. As such, you need expert legal representation to beat your DUI charges regardless of the peculiar circumstances of your case.
When you work with a DUI attorney in Charleston, your chances of having your charges dismissed become significantly high. In the worst case scenarios, your DUI lawyer will ensure you get lesser charges via plea bargain. Alternatively, they’ll fight for a reduced sentence on your behalf.
At Charleston DUI Guy, we’ll work hard to find plausible defenses to your DUI charge. Our dedicated criminal defense lawyer, Charleston, will ensure that your case gets the maximum attention it deserves. Ultimately, you can be sure of our expertise and determination to see that you’re left off the hook in no time. Contact us immediately for a free consultation.