Does a marijuana DUI have the same impact as a regular DUI? 70 Answers as of June 26, 2013

My brother was arrested for having the smell of weed in his car, and he had admitted to smoking earlier that afternoon. Will his DUI be greater than a regular DUI because of drug use?

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Austin Legal Services, PLC
Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
Operating a vehicle under a controlled substance of marijuana will have the same basic effects and consequences as if he had been driving under the influence of alcohol. If it was a stronger drug such as cocaine or heroin, that could be a different story. At least have a DUI attorney review the report before pleading to anything or accepting any offers. There may be errors that only a trained eye can spot that could get the charges reduced or dismissed.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/24/2011
Law Office of Jared Altman
Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
Probably the same. But there is no measure of how much THC (marijuana active ingredient) is in the blood. Just whether it is there or not. So, it's a tougher case for the prosecution to prove than a DWI/DUI.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 8/18/2011
Law Office of Andrew Subin
Law Office of Andrew Subin | Andrew Subin
It is the same as an alcohol DUI, but much harder for the state to prove. You brother needs a good DUI lawyer to fight this for him.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 8/15/2011
Law Office of Sara Sencer McArdle
Law Office of Sara Sencer McArdle | Sara Sencer McArdle
No and he needs a lawyer. Because he smoked earlier in the day does not mean that he was under the influence. Other factors will have to be examined.
Answer Applies to: New Jersey
Replied: 8/15/2011
Law Offices of John Carney
Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
DWI is the same whether you are impaired by drugs, alcohol, or even prescription drugs. Drunk driving is like firing a gun at a moving train and hoping no one gets hit by the bullets. Millions of innocent people have been crippled and killed by selfish people who choose to get high and drive home. They should just take a cab or use the Designated Driver Service that charges $25 to drive you home in your car and avoid such problems.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 8/15/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    Yes, it is a DUID, Driving under the influence of drugs. Needs a lawyer to be able to get the matter dismissed.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 8/13/2011
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    That depends upon the exact charges and what DUI charges you are comparing them to.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/13/2011
    The English Law Firm
    The English Law Firm | Robert English
    Probably not. It doesn't really matter why you are under the influence. There is the possibility of other charges, however, that are specifically drug related.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Anderson Law Office
    Anderson Law Office | Scott L. Anderson
    A DUI based on marijuana can be just like an alcohol DUI if it can be proven. It is harder to establish when the person smoked and if they are under the influence because pot stays in your system so long.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    A.L.A. Law Group, LLP
    A.L.A. Law Group, LLP | Lauren M. Mayfield
    No, typically if they do not find any drugs in the car at the time of the traffic stop (therefore adding simple possession charges) a DUI for marijuana is the same as a DUI for alcohol. The DMV will only take his license away after a conviction so it is important to fight a marijuana DUI to keep it off his record as well as to save his driving privileges. If he had a blood test done then an attorney can request the results of that test and do an analysis of the blood to try to argue that he wasn't under the influence at the time he was driving. He should speak with a criminal defense attorney right away.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    The penalties are the same for OUID as they are for OWI. License sanctions are 6 months, with the first month no license, followed by 5 months restricted. If possible, your attorney will explore getting the charge reduced to impaired driving, where the license sanctions are less. I hope that this was helpful.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Gonzalez Law Associates P.C.
    Gonzalez Law Associates P.C. | Carlos Gonzalez
    It's under a different subsection of the penal law but essentially comes with the same possible ramifications of license suspension or revocation and the possibility if a criminal record.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Bristol & Dubiel LLP
    Bristol & Dubiel LLP | Murray L. Bristol
    In Texas the State must prove for a Driving while intoxicated case that the person driving lost his normal use of his mental and/or physical faculties by the introduction of alcohol, drugs or a combination of either. Therefore, it does not change the punishment if marijuana is involved.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
    In court it would have the same effect and penalities. The only difference is he would not be subject to an administrative suspension of his license.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Moffitt & Phillips, PLLC
    Moffitt & Phillips, PLLC | Brandon Moffitt
    Substantially the same penalties.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Healan Law Offices
    Healan Law Offices | William D. Healan, III
    The penalties are the same, but the license suspension is different. For a first DUI, over 21 driver, an alcohol DUI gets you a 120 day license suspension with a work permit. A marijuana DUI gets you a 6 month suspension with no work permit. This is assuming that there was no administrative license suspension, which can be different than both suspensions above.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Watkins Law Office
    Watkins Law Office | Bob Watkins
    The potential penalties are the same. What may be different is the method of proof. Most courts require the testifying officer to be a "drug recognition expert" (DRE). If the arresting officer is not, there can be an added defense to such a charge.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Boske Law Offices
    Boske Law Offices | Michael A Boske
    Yes, there is very little difference between a marijuana OVI and an alcohol OVI.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    He is being charged under the same statute as if he was driving under the influence of alcohol with the same penalties. However, the statute provides for a zero tolerance when drugs are involved.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    A DUI is a DUI. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is covered by the same law with the same punishment. The big difference is that a marijuana DUI can be very difficult for the prosecution to prove. There is no magic number like an alcohol DUI 0.08% they can point to as a "legal limit". Your brother needs a lawyer, though.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
    Number one: do not talk to the police. Politely say that you have nothing to say and that you want a lawyer if you are suspected, or being accused, of a crime. Your brother did not know any better, I am sure, but he blew it badly when he admitted smoking earlier that day. Number two: Never, ever, ever agree to the Field Sobriety Tests. Ever. You must provide a breath or blood sample pursuant to California Law ('Implied Consent'), so do so. The cop, despite whatever lie he told you (and he is legally allowed to lie to you), was going to arrest you and impound your car anyway, if he thought that you were driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. That said, I have never, and will never, plead any client to a DUI for marijuana. Lastly, no, his marijuana DUI will not be worse than an alcohol DUI. It will count the same on his criminal and DMV records. The difference is that the DMV might... I said "might", not suspendhis license for a marijuana DUI. Fight all of it, all the way. I might not even take a 'reckless driving' (CVC 23103, not CVC 23103.5!) in this case, but that would be the very most I would consider.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    It carries the same penalties.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Smith & John
    Smith & John | Kenneth Craig Smith, Jr.
    There is no difference between the two. It is the same statute; however, a particular judge may tend to sentence one more harshly than the other, depending on their personal views.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
    Alcohol and drug DUIs are treated the same - there is nothing that distinguishes the two. That said, MJ DUIs are much more defensible as, unlike with alcohol, there is no bright line cut-off for the permissible amount in your blood. If the defendant is a habitual user then an argument can be made that the amount of THC in the blood was not enough for him to be under the influence.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law
    Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law | Michael R. Nack
    Your brother needs to hire the best defense lawyer he can afford. There is no way that he should take a conviction for this charge. If he does there will be serious negative consequences that will last for the rest of his life. I have handled many of these cases and I might be able to offer my services. Your brother should feel free to contact me, but in any event, he should hire an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    It will have the same effect as a DUI/alcohol. The penalties and implications to your driving privileges are identical, and if this is a first-time offense, counseling in drugs, as opposed to alcohol, will be a condition of the probationary sentence.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    DUI is short for driving under the influence. It is not limited to alcohol, but incudes drugs both legal and illegal ones. It will be treated in court the same as an alcohol DUI. The penalties will be based upon the degree of impairment.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Michael J. Gardiner, Attorney at Law | Michael Gardiner
    Yes. The statute requires a blood presence for substances other than alcohol which put you under their influence alone or in combination with others and/or alcohol. The prosecution may have a more difficult prosecution but the penalties are the same.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
    Yes. Driving Under the Influence (DUI) means alcohol and/or drugs.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Nichols Law Firm
    Nichols Law Firm | Michael J. Nichols
    Yes it does. Contact an expert attorney immediately.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    Yes, they are the same penalties. If he is serious about hiring counsel to help fight or deal with this, have him contact me. Keep in mind a little free advice: When arrested for DUI, whether alcohol or drugs, then upon release from jail or booking the defendant is given documents that include a notice that you have only ten days to file a request with DMV for a hearing on an appeal of an automatic one-year suspension of your license imposed by DMV. That is separate and runs consecutively with any suspension that may be imposed by the court. Contact DMV and do so, timely, then appear at your scheduled DMV appeal hearing and present any supporting evidence and testimony. If you don't know how to do these things, then hire an attorney that does. If serious about hiring counsel to help in this, and if this is in SoCal courts, feel free to contact me.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law | Michael Maltby
    Assuming that he is convicted, the penalties are the same.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    The 2 are the same. DUI is driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or intoxicants. A breath test is only one prong of the DUI. The person has a breath test of .08 or above OR their driving has been affected to an appreciable degree. Certainly the use of drugs (in this case weed) can affect a person's driving to an appreciable degree. This is what the police and prosecutor will be looking at. The penalties are the same.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    No, the consequences are the same if he pleads guilty. But realize that MJ DUI is much more defensible than an alcohol DUI, because MJ concentration is very hard to prove. So he should definitely not just go to court by himself and plead guilty. Consult a DUI specialist.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    August 10, 2011 There is no difference in the penalities for driving under the influnece of alcohol or drugs, if convicted.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC | Rankin Johnson IV
    Unlikely, although the state has a harder time proving marijuana DUIIs, and the evidence you cite isn't really sufficient. He should talk to a lawyer about taking the case to trial.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Eric J Schurman, Attorney at Law
    Eric J Schurman, Attorney at Law | Eric James Schurman
    The penalties are the same, but a drug DUI are often more difficult to prove. He should definitely get an attorney. He may very likely avoid a conviction.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Shane Law Office
    Shane Law Office | Robert J. Shane
    The state will need to prove that your brother was driving under the influence of a controlled substance at the time of driving. In in order to do so they will need to have a drug recognition expert testify at trial. It is not a crime to drive after having consumed a controlled substance. The prohibition is against driving while under the influence of a controlled substance to the extent that the drug affected his ability to drive the car safely. A DWI can be charged out for driving under the influence of a controlled substance or driving under the influence of alcohol. It's the same severity level. A misdemeanor can be charged for a first time offense no matter if it's alcohol or marijuana. As a criminal defense lawyer, I would want to know if the officer was trained as a drug recognition expert. The proper testing is necessary to determine if the person's ability to drive was affected by the drug. The testing required for marijuana is different from the testing in an alcohol case. Also, did the officer require your brother to submit to blood test to determine if there was marijuana in his system? And, does the driving conduct support an inference that the controlled substances affected his ability to safely operate the car? This type of evidence of driving conduct evidence could include speeding, weaving in the lane, wide turn, etc. Sounds like the case needs to be investigated for possible defenses.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC | Martina A. Vigil
    Generally, it holds the same consequence. A Driving Under the Influence charge can be for drugs and/ or alcohol. In my opinion, marijuana DUIs are easier to fight than alcohol related charges because the statute does not define what amount of marijuana effects your driving to the point in which you are incapacitated. I think you're more likely to get a wet reckless plea rather than a DUI conviction which is a good deal. Hire an attorney instead of pleading guilty to the misdemeanor complaint.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Connell-Savela
    Connell-Savela | Jason Savela
    In fact it is a little less bc there is no immediate DMV consequence based on level - only DMV consequence if conviction Mostly they are treated exactly the same There is inexact science on the meaning of test results meaning that these cases can be won if the atty knows the stuff
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    The impact will be no greater. It is the same charge under the same statute. However, your brother should absolutely speak with an attorney before going any further in the court process. OUI drugs, especially for marijuana is very hard for the state to prove. I would have to hear the full details of the facts before I could say with any certainty, but I would bet that your brother has a very triable case (one that has a good chance of winning at trial). If he doesn't already have an attorney, I would be happy to speak with him. You can pass along my information if you care to.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    Same kind of crime. Ouid is the charge.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Roberts
    Law Office of Andrew Roberts | Andrew Stephen Roberts
    It typically doesn't. However, there are significant defenses to a DUI with mj versus alcohol. You definitely retain an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Desert Defenders
    Desert Defenders | John Jimenez
    It will have the same impact as alcohol DUI, as the law is concerned with driving impairment, no matter the substance cause.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    The Law Office of Lewis R. Rosenblum
    The Law Office of Lewis R. Rosenblum | Lewis Rosenblum
    A MJ DUI is very tough for the DA to prove, I would suggest he contact a good defense lawyer. If however he is convicted it will have the same impact as a regular DUI regarding the criminal case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Russman Law
    Russman Law | Ryan Russman
    A DUI charge for drugs does not carry an enhanced penalty.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    They have the same impact only frankly, a marijuana DWI would be much harder for the State to prove. (It is DWI, not DUI, in Texas.) He should hire a lawyer & really consider fighting the case.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    The Law Office of James McKain
    The Law Office of James McKain | James McKain
    DUI is DUI. In fact, in some instances the drug DUI is better for the defendant. With a drug DUI there is no breathalyzer test, so there is usually no automatic license suspension. Additionally, there is no "per se" prong, rather, the prosecutor MUST prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant's driving was affected by the drug use. Contact an experienced DUI attorney so you can discuss your individual case in a safe and confidential manner.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Law Offices of Sean Logue
    Law Offices of Sean Logue | Sean Logue
    For the most part, yes
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    John Segelbaum, P.S.
    John Segelbaum, P.S. | John Segelbaum
    No, it will be the same charge but harder to prove the link between marijuana and impairment.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Harden Law Offices
    Harden Law Offices | Leonard D. Harden
    The dwi laws and penalties are the same. However, it is very hard for state to prove a dwi under drugs, a good dwi lawyer should be able to prevail. I would be happy to discuss case with you brother.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Harris Law Firm
    Harris Law Firm | Jennifer C. Robins
    Had a phone chat wit her.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Law Offices of Phil Hache
    Law Offices of Phil Hache | Phil Hache
    Generally speaking, no. He would be charged with a VC 23152(a), driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If someone gets an alcohol only DUI, they would have this charge as well. I can be reached through 1duilawyer.com if you would like to discuss further. These are usually good cases to fight as marijuana related DUI's are generally tougher to prove by the prosecutor than alcohol related offenses. Also, if there is no alcohol involved, should be a set aside from any DMV action.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/11/2011
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