Yes, Le’Veon Bell – You Can Get a DUI While High on Marijuana
By now you have surely heard about Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell’s arrest for a DUI. According to the police report, Bell was surprised by the charges. He didn’t know that you could be arrested for a DUI while high on marijuana. Unfortunately, many of our clients are similar situations.
Maybe it had even been hours since they actually smoked, but while the drug is still detectable in your system, you are legally considered to be under the influence of drugs for a DUI arrest. Pennsylvania is a “per se” state for DUIDs (driving while under the influence of drugs). This means that Pennsylvania has a particularly strict definition of “under the influence” for marijuana, as it can be detectable in your system sometimes even weeks after use.
What happens if I am under suspicion of a DUID?
If police officers determine that you are acting high, they can arrest you and administer a urine or other chemical test to test you for drug use. A level of one nanogram per milliliter of marijuana or its metabolites in the driver’s blood, by volume, will conclusively establish that the driver is under the influence in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, whether or not your faculties are obviously impaired.
They also can determine if you have recently smoked or ingested marijuana based on physical signs. In these cases, law enforcement will call for an evaluation by a drug recognition evaluator (DRE). The DRE will inspect you for signs of recent drug use, such as bloodshot eyes, behavioral markers, or odor. Usually they will take your blood pressure and pulse rate, closely examine your eyes, and conduct a field sobriety test. While not necessarily conclusive, courts take this evidence very seriously and consider it highly trustworthy.
While the punishments for some marijuana charges have lessened in severity in recent years in Pennsylvania, penalties for DUID convictions are still quite serious. They are always tier-three charges, the most serious level of DUI conviction in the state. For even a first offense DUID marijuana conviction, you can be sentenced to three (3) days to six (6) months jail time, up to a $5,000 fine, a year-long suspension of your driving license, and court-ordered driving school or drug treatment.
As you can see, driving while high is quite a big deal here in Pennsylvania. You will need the support of experienced Pittsburgh DUI lawyers to help you fight down the charges. If you have been arrested for a DUID of any kind, contact Pittsburgh criminal lawyers Mike Worgul and Samir Sarna at (412) 281-2146 right away to see what they can do to help your case. We are available 24/7 to get sound legal advice and set up a consultation.