Driving High: What Happens If I Get a Marijuana DUI?

In the last decade, there has been a 34% decrease in the number of alcohol-related driving fatalities. That’s good news. There is also bad news. During the same period, the number of drug-related driving fatalities has increased by 49%. The opioid crisis has played a role in the jump; so has marijuana.

Now that marijuana is legal in Missouri if prescribed for medical use, more people may be getting behind the wheel while high. That is risky. If law enforcement believes any over-the-counter, prescribed, or illegal substance has impaired your ability to safely operate a vehicle, you may find yourself facing a criminal conviction. 

At Guilfoil Law Group, I handle DWIs and DUIDs almost exclusively. I have built a practice, researched, authored articles, and presented lectures on the subject because this is the law I focus on. If you have been arrested for a DWI/DUID in Kansas City, Clay County, Platte County, or Jackson County, or anywhere in Missouri, call my office for help.                                                                                                                                                                                                        

What Is a DWI/DUID Charge in Missouri?

The terms “driving while intoxicated” (DWI) and “driving under the influence of drugs” (DUID) are largely interchangeable. It is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Missouri because it impairs your ability to operate a vehicle or motorboat safely.

Missouri has established a legal blood alcohol limit of .08%, although it is lower for commercial motor vehicle drivers and those under the legal drinking age of 21. There is no legal limit for drugs. You can be arrested and convicted based on the law enforcement officer’s opinion that your driving is impaired by any drugs (illegal, legal, or prescribed). That includes marijuana.

Anyone with a driver’s license has provided implied consent in Missouri to undergo a breathalyzer or other chemical test upon the reasonable request of law enforcement. If you refuse, you will automatically lose your license for a year.

What Are the Penalties I May Face if Convicted?

The penalties for a criminal DUID conviction are the same as those levied for a DWI conviction in Missouri. A first DUID offense is usually charged as a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail or a two-year term of probation or substance abuse treatment if the jail sentence is suspended.

The court could order that you wear a SCRAM bracelet that continuously monitors the presence of alcohol in your body. You will have to pay the cost for the use and monitoring of these devices. Because you were convicted for a DUID, your sentence will likely prohibit the use of drugs and alcohol as well.

Penalties for a first criminal conviction may also include a fine of up to $1,000 plus court costs and other fees.

There is also an administrative side of DWI/DUID arrests carried out by the State of Missouri’s Department of Revenue. Administrative penalties include immediate loss of your driver’s license for 30 days if you have not been arrested for a DUID in the past five years. Your license will then be restricted for another 60 days which allows you to drive only to necessary places such as work or school.

These are the penalties for a first DUID. Subsequent arrests and convictions come with increasingly stiffer penalties and more significant consequences.

What Legal Defenses Could I Use?

You should always talk to a DWI/DUID attorney after an arrest. The long-term fallout from arrests and convictions can affect employment, career opportunities, housing, and more. They can take a heavy toll on your finances and your personal relationships.

An experienced and knowledgeable DUID attorney can help mount a legal defense to mitigate the penalties of a criminal conviction. Your attorney may be able to challenge the probable cause of the stop, the chemical test administration, and the results which may have been affected by other substances, food, and drink.

How Guilfoil Law Group Can Help

Regardless of innocence or guilt at the time of your arrest, you are facing a criminal conviction for driving under the influence of marijuana. Don’t risk your future by facing the charge on your own.

At Guilfoil Law Group, I have represented hundreds of clients charged with DUIDs and DWIs in Kansas City and throughout the state of Missouri. I know the statutes, the case law, the current research, and the best defenses possible. Call my office now to schedule a free case consultation.


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