Drugged driving is a misunderstood area of law. Parents particularly should be aware of the law and penalties. If you suspect your child might be using marijuana, it is important you and they recognize the risks associated long after the effects of the drug have worn off.
In Pennsylvania, a person is guilty of driving under the influence or driving after imbibing (“DUI” and “DAI”, respectively) if said individual:
- Drives with any amount of marijuana in his or her blood;
- Drives with a metabolite of a marijuana in his or her blood;
Pennsylvania has a per se drugged driving policy, the focus of this article. What does this mean? Essentially, if the state proves a level of one nanogram per milliliter of
marijuana or its metabolites is in your blood while operating a vehicle (*virtually the lowest measurable amount*), the state needs nothing more to establish you are under the influence. Interestingly, the previous level required to prove per se impairment was five nanograms per milliliter, so the current level is a significant reduction. The prosecutor need not prove you were impaired, but must only establish a baseline level of the drug was found in your system.
Why is this such a frightening proposition? The THC metabolite can remain in a person’s system for several days after an individual ingests marijuana. Therefore, even though you have long come down from the high associated with marijuana use, you are still technically under its influence under the law. Remember again that Pennsylvania does not require a showing of impairment if your blood levels show the requisite level.
The penalties you may face include a one-year license suspension, jail time, and fines up to $5,000.
If you have been charged with an alleged DUI or DAI, an attorney skilled in DUI defense can explain your rights and help you prepare the best possible defense. The legal team at Howland Hess O’Connell is available to assist you in handling this matter. A free and confidential consultation is one phone call away at 215-947-6240, or visit us online today.
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