You're Innocent Until Proven Guilty — We'll Stand by You GET IN TOUCH
Marijuana and Car Keys

Driving High. What Happens if I Get a Marijuana DUID?

Eisenhauer Law June 25, 2024

With the increasing legality and acceptance of marijuana use, many individuals find it crucial to understand the laws surrounding driving under the influence of drugs (DUID), particularly marijuana.  

Missouri has strict regulations regarding DUIDs to ensure road safety. Understanding what happens if you get a marijuana DUID in Missouri can be vital for any resident or visitor.  

Understanding Marijuana DUID Laws in Missouri

Driving under the influence of marijuana (DUID) is illegal in Missouri, regardless of whether you possess a medical marijuana card. The law strictly prohibits operating a motor vehicle if your driving ability is impaired by marijuana consumption.

Unlike alcohol, where blood alcohol content (BAC) limits are clearly defined and measured, determining impairment due to marijuana use presents a more complex challenge. 

To address this complexity, law enforcement officers use a combination of methods to determine impairment: 

  1. Observations: Officers look for signs of impairment, such as erratic driving behavior, the smell of marijuana, red or bloodshot eyes, and delayed reaction times. 

  1. Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs): Standardized field sobriety tests are employed to gauge a driver's motor skills and cognitive functions. These tests may include the walk-and-turn test, the one-leg stand test, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. 

  1. Chemical Tests: In some cases, blood or urine tests are conducted to detect the presence of THC. However, these tests face limitations, as THC can remain detectable in the body long after its psychoactive effects have worn off, leading to potential false positives for impairment. 

Possible Penalties

If an officer determines that a driver is impaired by marijuana, the individual may face serious legal consequences, including: 

  • Arrest: Immediate arrest and detention. 

  • Charges: Being charged with a DUID, which could result in fines, license suspension, and even jail time. 

  • Court Proceedings: Mandatory court appearances and the potential for a criminal record. 

  • Impact on Medical Marijuana Cardholders: Having a medical marijuana card does not provide immunity from DUID charges. Cardholders must exercise caution and ensure they are not impaired when driving. 

Consequences of a Marijuana DUID

If you are charged with a marijuana DUID in Missouri, the consequences can be severe and life-changing: 

  • First Offense: A first-time DUID offender can face fines, license suspension, and potentially jail time. Also, a conviction will go on your permanent record. 

  • Subsequent Offenses: Penalties increase with subsequent offenses, including longer jail sentences, higher fines, and extended suspension or revocation of driving privileges. 

  • Aggravating Factors: Additional penalties may apply if your impaired driving resulted in an accident, injury, or death, or if there were minors in the vehicle. 

Potential Defenses for Marijuana DUID Charges

Facing a marijuana DUID charge does not automatically mean conviction. Several defenses can be employed: 

  • Lack of Probable Cause: The officer did not have a valid reason to stop your vehicle. 

  • Improper Field Sobriety Tests: The tests were administered incorrectly or under unsuitable conditions. 

  • Inaccurate Chemical Tests: The blood or urine tests were flawed or improperly handled. 

  • Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions or medications could have mimicked impairment. 

  • Violation of Rights: Your constitutional rights were violated during the arrest or investigation. 

  • Insufficient Evidence: The prosecution does not have enough evidence to prove impairment beyond a reasonable doubt. 

Steps to Take if Charged With a Marijuana DUID

If you find yourself facing a marijuana DUID charge in Missouri, it is essential to take specific steps immediately: 

  1. Remain Calm and Compliant: Arguing with law enforcement officers can worsen the situation. Stay calm and comply with their requests. 

  2. Seek Legal Representation: Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A knowledgeable lawyer can help you navigate the legal system and develop a robust defense strategy. 

  3. Document Everything: Write down everything you remember about the traffic stop and arrest, including the officers’ names and badge numbers, the time and location, and any statements made by the officers. 

Why You Need an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

Navigating the complexities of a marijuana DUID charge requires skilled legal expertise. At Eisenhauer Law, our criminal defense attorney is well-versed in Missouri's DUID laws and dedicated to protecting your rights. We will thoroughly investigate your case, challenge potentially flawed evidence, and advocate for the best possible outcome. 

If you find yourself facing a marijuana DUID charge, don't face it alone. Contact our criminal defense attorney in St. Louis, Missouri, today to schedule a consultation and discuss your case.