Charges of driving under the influence are taken very seriously in Pennsylvania. While most people think of alcohol impairment when they hear about DUIs, the fact remains that a person can be charged with and convicted of DUI for being under the influence of other substances, including marijuana.
As states across the country, including Pennsylvania, have recognized the benefits of medical marijuana, that does not negate the fact that drivers are not allowed to operate their vehicles while impaired by any substance. Those with medical marijuana cards in Pennsylvania can still be charged with DUI.
What is the legal limit for marijuana in your system?
There is no specified legal limit for how much marijuana a person can have in their system for them to be charged with DUI. A person can be convicted for a DUI charge for having any of the active ingredient in marijuana, THC, into their system.
This can lead to significant issues for drivers in the Commonwealth because THC can be detected in a person’s body for days or even weeks after being ingested. For the purposes of the DUI laws in Pennsylvania, having any active THC in your system while driving means you are legally impaired.
Penalties for a marijuana DUI in Pennsylvania
If a person is stopped under the suspicion of impaired driving and the law enforcement officer suspects they are under the influence of marijuana, they will likely face DUI charges. The penalties for a marijuana DUI charge in Pennsylvania can be severe. A first offense marijuana DUI charge can result in:
- An upgraded misdemeanor offense
- 12-month driver’s license suspension
- 72 hours to six months in jail
- A fine of up to $5,000
- Requirement for alcohol highway safety school
- An order to obtain drug testing
In addition to the DUI penalties associated with a marijuana case, a person could also face other marijuana-related charges. Other criminal charges that could occur at a DUI stop include:
- Possession of drug paraphernalia
- Possession of marijuana
- Distribution of marijuana
Each of these charges can result in a person receiving other penalties in addition to the DUI penalties mentioned above.
Pennsylvania medical marijuana requirements
Patients in Pennsylvania who are diagnosed with various severe, debilitating, or life-threatening medical conditions are often able to obtain a medical marijuana card so they can use the drug legally. The Pennsylvania medical marijuana program requires that:
- The person is at least 18 years of age or has an approved caregiver if under the age of 18.
- Must be a Pennsylvania resident.
- Must be evaluated by a certified physician to obtain certification to show that the patient is suffering from a qualifying condition.
It is important to point out that carrying a valid medical marijuana card is very vital for a person who takes medical marijuana in Pennsylvania. However, a medical marijuana card does not allow a person to operate a vehicle well under the influence of the narcotic. In the event you or somebody you love who legally consumes marijuana is stopped by a police officer while driving, it is essential not to make any incriminating statements during the stop. If you have a medical marijuana card, you are legally using the drug. However, there may still be a detectable level of THC in your blood that could lead to a DUI. Before saying anything that could make the situation worse, speak to a qualified DUI defense attorney as soon as possible.