A “marijuana DUI” refers to a charge of driving under the influence of drugs, specifically marijuana. However, unlike most DUIs, it is possible to be charged with a marijuana DUI even if you are not actually under the influence of marijuana at the time you are driving. Below is a detailed explanation of how this can happen, as well as how one might get a DUI during the normal course of events while high on marijuana.
The Basics of Georgia DUI Law
In Georgia, there are several different ways one can get charged with a DUI. These include the following.
- Operating or being in physical control of a vehicle and being influenced by alcohol to the extent it is less safe to drive.
- Operating or being in physical control of a vehicle and being influenced by drugs to the extent it is less safe to drive.
- Operating or being in physical control of a vehicle and being influenced by glue, aerosol, or other toxic vapor to the extent it is less safe to drive.
- Operating or being in physical control of a vehicle and being influenced by any combination of alcohol, drugs, glue, aerosol, or other toxic vapor to the extent it is less safe to drive.
- Operating or being in physical control of a vehicle and having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 grams or more at any time within three hours after driving or being in physical control.
- Operating or being in physical control of a vehicle and having any amount of marijuana in their blood or urine, including metabolites and derivatives of marijuana.
How Long Does Marijuana Stay In Your System?
Given that someone can get a DUI for having any amount of marijuana in their system, it is understandable that people may want to know how long marijuana stays in the system. The answer, like many answers where people come in different shapes and sizes, is “it depends.”
One variable which can impact the amount of time marijuana can stay in the system is the frequency of use. For example, the Mayo Clinic did a study to determine how long marijuana could be detected in urine and found the following maximum lengths of time the marijuana was present.
- Three days for people who use up to three times per week.
- Five to seven days for people who use four times a week.
- Ten to 15 days for daily users of marijuana.
- More than 30 days for marijuana users who use multiple times each day.
In blood, marijuana is typically detectable for up to two days, however, again, the presence of marijuana may be more likely detected in frequent users than occasional users. More frequent users have been known to have the presence of marijuana in their blood for up to seven days.
Other Factors that Can Impact How Long Marijuana Stays in your System
There are other factors besides frequency of use that can impact how long marijuana stays in your system. These include
- Body mass index (BMI),
- How much marijuana is consumed,
- How potent the marijuana is, and
- Whether the marijuana is ingested or smoked.
Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly referred to as THC, is the active ingredient in marijuana that gets people high. It is absorbed into the bloodstream. However, some THC is stored temporarily in organs and fatty tissues. THC is broken down in the liver, into metabolites. THC has over 80 metabolites. The presence of metabolites remains in the body long after the marijuana high is gone.
A DUI without the “I”
As you have probably already surmised, it is possible for you to get charged with and convicted of a DUI even if you are not high or under the influence of any drugs. This is true so long as the presence of marijuana or its metabolites or derivatives is present in your blood. While this may not seem fair or make much sense, it is currently the law in the state of Georgia. No amount of protesting that you were not, in fact, “under the influence” will protect you from the law.
What to Do if You are Charged with a Marijuana DUI
While the law may not make much sense, the Constitution still applies in marijuana DUI cases. This means the police cannot stop your car without probable cause, and cannot expand a search beyond the original basis for the stop without probable cause. They cannot take your blood or urine for testing for the presence of marijuana without probable cause to do so. An experienced DUI attorney should review every step the cops took to evaluate the constitutionality of the stop and subsequent taking of your blood or urine.
If the police exceeded the bounds of the law, the case against you may be dismissed.
Are You Charged with a Marijuana DUI?
If you are charged with a marijuana DUI, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney who has handled marijuana DUI cases in the past. Our Atlanta DUI attorneys focus our practice on DUI defense. Our team includes a former DUI prosecutor. We know how to defend DUI cases because that is all we do. Our attorneys are available for consultations 24 hours each day, seven days a week. Contact us today to discuss the facts and circumstances of your marijuana DUI case, at 404.816.4440. We can help you work through both your criminal and civil cases. Call today.