DUI Q&A Series - Can I Get a DUI for Driving High?

driving while high in Washington state


Marijuana was decriminalized in Washington State, but it's still illegal to drive under the influence of intoxicating substances. Though the penalties are similar, the science involved in charging a marijuana DUI is significantly different from a standard DUI.


Marijuana was decriminalized in Washington a number of years ago, but it is still against the law to drive while under the influence of marijuana.

How do you know if you're under the influence of marijuana? What are the penalties?

Well much like alcohol, marijuana has a per se affected by limit, a level in your bloodstream where by law, you are affected by it. For marijuana, it's five nanograms or more of THC per liter of whole blood. The penalties for a marijuana DUI are no different than the penalties for an alcohol DUI. And if you'd like to know more about those penalties, click this link.

People ask a lot, “Doesn't marijuana stay in my system for weeks?” Well, to a certain degree yes. Toxicology data tells us, that active THC tends to peak in your body and eliminate within six to 12 hours of consumption. It then converts into another substance called carboxy THC. This is a metabolite of marijuana, and this can stay in your system for weeks, showing that you've consumed marijuana. But it's not against the law to drive while under the influence of carboxy THC, because it's inactive. It has no effect on your system.

Although the penalties for marijuana DUI are the same as alcohol-related DUI, the science behind them is very different, as is the way the officers investigate them.

A skilled DUI defense attorney will understand the differences between marijuana and drug-related DUIs and alcohol DUIs and know the differences in procedures and investigation techniques so that they can ensure you are protected right from the start

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