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Can I Be Charged With DUI When Using Marijuana?

Posted on in DUI / OWI

Milwaukee marijuana dui defense lawyerMany people associate DUI, or driving under the influence, with the overconsumption of alcohol. However, one can be convicted of a DUI (also called Operating While Intoxicated or OWI) for driving while under the influence of illegal drugs or prescription medications.

Marijuana OWI

There are several reasons why marijuana OWI charges are on the rise in recent years. Marijuana has become legal for medical or recreational purposes in many states. Also, Canada recently legalized pot for recreational use nationwide. In addition, growing practices have yielded increasingly more potent marijuana crops. 

Wisconsin law states that “No person may drive or operate a motor vehicle while . . . [t]he person has a detectable amount of a restricted controlled substance in his or her blood.” This is different from how the law defines OWI for alcohol, which occurs when someone drinks to a point that “renders him or her incapable of safely driving.”

Thus, Wisconsin law has made it illegal to drive with any detectable amount of marijuana in your body, but someone who has ingested alcohol will not be charged with OWI unless his or her blood alcohol level is over the legal limit of .08%.

If an officer pulls you over and suspects you of being under the influence, he will likely administer a field sobriety test and look for signs of intoxication due to drinking or drugs. If you perform poorly on the field sobriety tests but do not have alcohol on your breath, an officer might suspect that drug use has occurred.

Police can test for THC metabolites (the active chemical in marijuana) in your blood, and if there is any amount detected -- however small -- a marijuana OWI will be issued. Under the law, it does not matter if the amount is so small that it could not affect your driving. 

Call a Milwaukee Marijuana OWI Lawyer

If you have been charged with an OWI because an officer believed you were impaired due to marijuana, you should contact an attorney. There are numerous facts surrounding your arrest that a criminal defense attorney will investigate to determine the strength of the case against you and your best options for defense.

Depending on the evidence against you and your criminal history, you may be able to successfully argue for an arrangement in which you can avoid jail time by completing a substance abuse program and the requirements for probation. Each case is different and should be individually reviewed by a skilled Milwaukee, WI DUI/OWI defense attorney. The law firm of Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP is ready to represent you in your OWI case. Call us today at 414-271-1440.




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