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3 Considerations for Marijuana DUIs

Posted by William Kirk, Partner | Apr 24, 2014 | 0 Comments

Driving under the influence of marijuana has been a hot topic since Washington legalized recreational marijuana use last year by passing Initiative 502. Unlike alcohol use, it can be difficult to put a number to just how high is too high. However, this has not stopped Washington lawmakers from placing a cap of five nanograms of THC (per milliliter of blood) as the legal limit to smoke and drive. Critics of the law have pointed out that the five-nanogram cap does not make sense as different individuals metabolize marijuana differently.  They feel as if the arbitrary number was established without evidence to support it.

In light of the law, here are three considerations you should keep in mind before getting behind the wheels of a car after having smoked marijuana, as provided by

  1. THC Can Stay in the Body For a Long Time. Alcohol is typically processed through your body quickly. So your blood alcohol level likely won't reflect a drink you had 24 hours earlier. On the other hand, THC -- the active ingredient in marijuana -- can stay in your body for days.
  2. Marijuana Has a Greater Effect on Non-Frequent Smokers. This is similar to the effects of alcohol on a person. If you smoke marijuana or drink alcohol frequently, a single smoke or drink will likely have a lesser impact on you. So someone who smokes marijuana rarely will likely be more impaired and make more mistakes than someone who smokes frequently.
  3. You Don't Need to Hit the Legal Limit to be Arrested. Regardless of the THC level in your body, you can be arrested for driving under the influence if your driving is impaired by the drug. So even if your THC level is below five nanograms, you could still face a DUI charge.

Contact one of our experienced DUI Attorney

The laws regarding marijuana DUIs are relatively new. If you have been charged with the crime, you should talk to an attorney to understand the charges brought against you. Contact an attorney at Cowan Kirk Gaston Wolff by calling (425) 822-1220 to learn how we can help you.  Collectively, we are the largest DUI law firm in the state with decades of experience.

About the Author

William Kirk, Partner

Bill Kirk has been named a Super Lawyer by Washington Law and Politics Magazine every year since 2003. He currently serves on the Board of Regents to the National College for DUI Defense and is the President of the Washington Foundation for Criminal Justice. Bill is one of only two attorneys in this state to pass the National College's Board Certification Exam.


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