Car keys and Marijuana

Driving High: What Happens if I Get a Marijuana DUI?

The Linder Firm June 4, 2024

Facing a marijuana DUI charge can be an overwhelming experience, especially if it's your first encounter with the law. A conviction for any drugged driving offense can have severe repercussions, both immediately and in the long term, including fines, jail time, and the suspension of driving privileges.  

Engaging knowledgeable legal representation can make all the difference in mitigating the consequences of your DUI charge. If you've been arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana, consult with a qualified defense attorney who can fight for your rights.

Serving clients throughout Dallas Metro and North Texas, the Linder Firm defends clients against all types of marijuana DUI cases.  

Understanding the implications and options available when facing a marijuana DUI can help you take the steps needed to protect your rights. Unlike alcohol, laws surrounding marijuana DUIs are often less clear-cut due to the challenges in accurately measuring impairment.  

In this article, Attorney Philip Linder aims to provide you with valuable information and advice when charged with a marijuana DUI.  

What Is a Marijuana DUI?

Marijuana DUI represents charges similar to alcohol-based DUI, but specific to cannabis.  

This charge is not specific to any particular form of cannabis and can be applied to driving under the influence of any marijuana-based substance. Ultimately, a Marijuana DUI represents the same kind of charge as other substance-related DUIs — but the legal nuances can vary. 

Understanding the Effects of Marijuana

Marijuana can significantly impair an individual’s ability to drive. It affects various cognitive and motor skills necessary for safe driving.  

When consumed, THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) impacts the brain’s ability to process information, leading to slower reaction times and impaired motor coordination. This makes driving under the influence of marijuana a serious safety concern. 

Marijuana can impair a person’s driving abilities in several ways: 

  • Slowed reaction time: Delayed responses to traffic signals or sudden changes on the road. 

  • Impaired judgment: Difficulty making quick decisions, which is crucial for safe driving. 

  • Decreased coordination: Reduced motor skills, affecting tasks like steering or braking. 

  • Altered perception: Changes in perception of distance and speed. 

Penalties for Marijuana DUIs in Texas

In Texas, the penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) of marijuana can be severe, reflecting the state's strict stance on impaired driving.  

Here is an overview of the potential penalties: 

First Offense

  • Class B misdemeanor 

  • Jail time: Up to 180 days in county jail. 

  • Fines: Up to $2,000. 

  • License suspension: 90 days to 1 year. 

  • Community service: 24 to 100 hours. 

  • Probation: Potential probation with mandatory participation in drug and alcohol education programs. 

Second Offense

  • Class A misdemeanor 

  • Jail time: 30 days to 1 year in county jail. 

  • Fines: Up to $4,000. 

  • License suspension: 180 days to 2 years. 

  • Community service: 80 to 200 hours. 

  • Probation: Enhanced probation terms including additional drug and alcohol education or treatment programs. 

Third Offense

  • Third-degree felony 

  • Prison time: 2 to 10 years in state prison. 

  • Fines: Up to $10,000. 

  • License suspension: 180 days to 2 years. 

  • Community service: 160 to 600 hours. 

  • Probation: Lengthier and more stringent probation conditions, which may include intensive supervision and mandatory substance abuse treatment. 

Additional Consequences

Aside from the direct legal penalties, there are several other consequences that can accompany a marijuana DUI conviction: 

  • Increased insurance rates: A DUI conviction typically results in significantly higher auto insurance premiums. 

  • Criminal record: The conviction will appear on your criminal record, potentially affecting employment opportunities, housing applications, and more. 

  • Ignition Interlock Device (IID): For repeat offenders, the court may require the installation of an IID on any vehicle operated by the offender. 

  • Educational programs: Mandatory completion of DUI education or substance abuse treatment programs as a condition of probation. 

Texas imposes stringent penalties for marijuana DUI offenses to deter impaired driving and ensure road safety. With stakes this high, the importance of enlisting a skilled defense attorney cannot be overstated.  

Steps to Take After Your Charge

After you are charged with a marijuana DUI in Texas, you have just 15 days from the date of your charge to request a hearing to contest your driver's license suspension. If you don't appeal, the suspension typically starts 40 days after your arrest.  

For those in Dallas Metro or North Texas, contact Attorney Phillip Linder to thoroughly review every detail of your case, aiming to reduce or eliminate your charge. 

Effective Defenses to Marijuana DUIs

Attorney Phillip Linder has extensive experience defending clients against DUI charges, including those involving marijuana. With the right defensive strategy, you stand a chance of regaining your freedom after being charged with a Marijuana DUI. Here are some of the ways The Linder Firm can defend your case: 

  • Challenge the traffic stop: Arguing that the initial stop was unlawful. 

  • Question test accuracy: Contending that field sobriety tests or blood tests were improperly administered or inaccurate. 

  • Medical marijuana use: Presenting evidence that the marijuana detected was used legally for medical purposes and did not impair driving ability. 

  • Lack of impairment: Demonstrating that the driver was not impaired at the time of arrest, possibly through witness testimony or expert analysis. 

  • Lack of probable cause: Demonstrating that there was insufficient evidence to justify the arrest. 

These are just a few potential strategies that can be used to reduce or clear your charges. Attorney Phillip Linder may employ one or more of those strategies if it strengthens your case. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Marijuana DUIs

How Does Law Enforcement Test for Marijuana in a DWI Case in Texas? 

In Texas, law enforcement officers use various methods to test for marijuana impairment. Those methods can include: 

  • Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs): These tests assess physical and cognitive functions through exercises like walking in a straight line or standing on one leg. 

  • Drug Recognition Experts (DREs): Specially trained officers may evaluate suspects for signs of drug impairment. 

  • Blood tests: Unlike alcohol breath tests, marijuana impairment is often detected through blood tests, which can identify THC levels. 

Can You Fight a Marijuana DWI Charge in Texas?

Yes, it is possible to fight a marijuana DWI charge in Texas. With the help of an experienced attorney like Phillip Linder, you can challenge the evidence and build a robust defense strategy. Legal options available include: 

  • Pre-trial motions: Filing motions to suppress evidence if it was obtained unlawfully. 

  • Plea bargains: Negotiating lesser charges or reduced penalties. 

  • Trial: Presenting a defense case in court, challenging the prosecution’s evidence, and providing witnesses who can attest to the defendant's capability to drive safely. 

Can a Marijuana DUI Be Lowered to a Lesser Charge?

A lower-level offense typically has fewer consequences and reduced stigma compared to a Marijuana DUI, representing a notable improvement over the original charge. Attorney Phillip Linder may be able to reduce your Marijuana DUI charge to a lesser offense, such as a traffic violation, which is significantly less severe.

He can review your case to determine if a charge reduction is possible.  

Texas takes driving under the influence of marijuana seriously, with significant penalties for those convicted. However, several defenses can be employed to challenge these charges. Consulting with an experienced defense attorney can help anyone facing a marijuana DUI to explore the best legal options and ensure a robust defense strategy. 

Contact The Linder Firm for Help With Your Marijuana DUI Case

Attorney Phillip Linder has over three decades of experience in the legal system and a proven track record of success. His background as a former prosecutor gives him unique insights into how the prosecution builds its case, allowing him to craft effective defense strategies for his clients. 

If you are facing a marijuana DUI charge in Dallas, Texas, seek legal representation as soon as possible. Contact The Linder Firm to schedule a free consultation and discuss your case.  

Attorney Phillip Linder and his team are dedicated to providing strategic, results-oriented representation to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome. Contact The Linder Firm today to get started and let Attorney Phillip Linder put his experience to work for you.