Over the past years, we have seen substantial changes in marijuana laws across the country. However, in Virginia, marijuana remains illegal for recreational consumption. This means that being charged with a marijuana-related DUID (Driving Under the Influence of Drugs) may also land you with a marijuana possession charge. This is especially true if you’re found with unsmoked or burnt marijuana in the vehicle.
Richmond Marijuana DUID Charges
In Richmond, simply driving high could lead to two different charges. If an individual is found to be driving under the influence of drugs, they are in violation of 18.2 - 266 and may be charged with a DUID. Additionally, a person can be charged with possession of marijuana, which is a Class 1 misdemeanor for any offense that is not their first.
The potential penalties for any Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia include:
- Up to 12 months in jail
- A fine of up to $2,500
- A loss of driving privileges for up to 12 months
- Mandatory completion of programs such as the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP)
How Marijuana DUIDs Differ from Alcohol DUIs
Marijuana-related DUID cases are much different from alcohol-related DUIs. The first large difference is that in Virginia, there is no level of marijuana consumption that is “in violation” per se. However, if an individual is caught driving with a BAC level of .08 or above, they are in violation of Virginia’s DUI statute. The same cannot be said for marijuana.
Because there are no exact rules in place to test an individual for THC, a marijuana-related DUID must be proven through a blood test.
The prosecution must prove all elements of the DUI or DUID offense beyond a reasonable doubt, regardless of the substance consumed. Typical evidence that officers use include:
- Swerving lanes
- Driving on the wrong side of the road
- Excessive speeding
- Driving too far under the speed limit
- Admissions of the accused
- Officer observations
- Performance during field sobriety tests
How an Experienced Richmond Defense Attorney can Help
Because marijuana-related DUIDs often cause a large variety of legal issues, it’s crucial for your future to speak with an experienced Richmond DUID defense attorney as soon as possible. The quicker you start, the better your chances are of having your charges dropped.
Marijuana-related DUIDs are still relatively new, and the methods that law enforcement uses to charge individuals are flawed in many ways. An experienced attorney will be able to build a strong defense to protect your rights in court and fight for the best possible outcome for your case.
Call our team today (804) 207-5735 to learn more about how we can help over a free case evaluation.