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Pennsylvania's laws for driving under the influence of marijuana

Pennsylvania imposes severe penalties when an individual is caught driving with marijuana in their bloodstream, even if the driver is not impaired. Suspects should be aware of the significance of mounting an effective criminal defense after an arrest because of the severity of the penalties they could face if convicted.

A motorist is guilty of a crime when he or she drives with any amount of marijuana in his or her blood, with any marijuana metabolites in his or her blood, or under the influence of any drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol that impairs his or her ability to drive safely.

It is illegal to drive with marijuana metabolites, which indicate processing of marijuana in the blood, even if the driver is not impaired. Any amount over 1ng/ml may be introduced in a prosecution of driving after ingesting marijuana or that the motorist drove while impaired by drugs. However, the prosecution must also show proof of actual impairment in a DUI case. It is significant that marijuana metabolites can remain in a person's system for weeks after ingestion. Yet, being legally entitled to use marijuana or alcohol is not a legal defense to these charges.

Any person, as a condition of having a Pennsylvania's driver's license, is considered to have consented to chemical tests of breath, blood, or urine for detecting controlled substances such as marijuana. A test cannot be undertaken by a police officer if a motorist refuses the test. However, refusal will lead to an automatic six to 18-month suspension of the driver's license, and it may be introduced in the criminal prosecution of these charges.

The police do not have to allow a driver to consult with their attorney before deciding whether they will submit to these tests. But, motorists may have their own physician perform additional breath, blood, or urine chemical tests which may be admitted into evidence in a prosecution.

Convictions for these offenses can lead to imprisonment, fines, mandatory attendance at safe driving classes, community service, license suspension, and attendance at a victim impact panel. These penalties increase with subsequent convictions.

The long-term consequences of an arrest or a conviction for one of these offense are substantial and can impact a person's freedom, career, and education. An attorney can help suspected drivers fight a criminal charges like these in hopes of avoiding the harsh penalties that often accompany them.

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Haller & Imbarlina, P.C.
20120 Route 19, Suite 208
Gigliotti Plaza
Cranberry Township, PA 16066

Phone: 724-935-0820
Fax: 724-779-6299
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Haller & Imbarlina, P.C.