While the state of New York does have laws permitting medical marijuana, recreational use is still legal. Even though the state has decriminalized the use of marijuana, its laws regarding recreational drug use are still quite strict. Upon being caught with 25 grams or less of marijuana for the third time, the offender risks being sent to jail for 15 days. Because recreational marijuana is still legal in New York, it comes as no surprise that operating a motor-vehicle while under the influence of marijuana is also illegal.
Drugged Driving laws on New York
New York has official drugged driving laws regarding marijuana and other drugs. Drivers who operate motor-vehicles on public roadways while high are subject to the same penalties as drunk drivers. The legal limit for New York, along with the rest of the United States, is 0.08 BAC. As long as you are under 0.08 BAC, you are permitted to drive on public motorways, provided you are not under 21 years old, on duty as an emergency responder, truck driver, or bus driver. With marijuana, however, any amount present in the driver’s blood or urine is enough to charge the driver with driving under the influence. While DWI requires a specific amount of alcohol and impairment, it is a crime to drive under the influence of marijuana if you are impaired to any extent at all. This is essentially a lower threshold than what is enforced for alcohol offenses.
Recreational Marijuana on Other States
While most drugs leave the system in one to three days, marijuana can last weeks in a user’s system. The more the person consumes marijuana and the less he or she exercises, the longer it will show up in drug tests. Because of this, New York’s stance on driving while high can be quite problematic. It is completely possible that a motorist who smoked cannabis a week ago can fail a drug test, despite being completely sober. To further complicate the matter, Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington have legalized recreational marijuana use. It is possible for someone to legally smoke cannabis in Colorado on Monday and be arrested for driving under the influence of drugs in New York on a Friday, despite not smoking in between. This may look even more problematic in New York as their neighbor, Vermont, looks to be the next state in the country to legalize recreational marijuana. State penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana are strict. First-time offenders can expect to pay a fine between $500 to $1000, and they also risk spending a year in jail, or three years of probation and losing their license for six months. If you are convicted for a second time, you can be fined up to $5,000 and risk doing up to four years in prison. Moreover, second convictions can result in a year-long driver’s license suspension. Finally, there is the third conviction. If you have been convicted of driving under the influence of marijuana for a third time, you run the risk of spending years in prison, paying up to $10,000 in fines, and having your license revoked for up to eleven years.
Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana
Driving while under the influence of marijuana is a serious crime. It is also difficult to determine if someone is under the effects of the drug during the time of the test. If you or someone you know has been charged with driving under the influence of marijuana, contact an experienced DWI defense attorney immediately. An experienced lawyer who understands how marijuana affects the body, as well as the legal obligations of the prosecutor, can prepare a tough defense for you to get you the best outcome possible.