Can I get a DWI for Driving With Marijuana in my System in New York?

In New York, driving under the influence of marijuana falls under the category of Driving while ability impaired by a drug (DWAI/drug) or if a driver had consumed both drugs and alcohol, driving while ability impaired by a combined influence of drugs or alcohol (DWAI/combination).

Driving High in NY Can Get You a DWAI

Both of these offenses have serious consequences, so if you were arrested in New York for driving while under the influence of marijuana, it is critical to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who may be able to get your charges reduced or even dismissed.

Amount of Marijuana

When a driver is pulled over for driving while intoxicated, the police officer can administer a blood alcohol content (BAC) test to determine whether he or she exceeded the legal limit of 0.08 percent. However, when marijuana is involved, any amount of the drug that is found in the driver’s blood or urine, no matter how small, can be used to establish that he or she was under the influence while driving.

According to state law, a person’s ability to operate a vehicle is impaired when that person’s use has actually impaired the physical and mental abilities required to operate a vehicle as a reasonable driver. There is no specific chemical or physical test to prove that someone was impaired at the time of arrest. Instead, the judge or jury will consider the surrounding facts and circumstances, including:

  • The driver’s physical condition, appearance, balance, coordination, and manner of speech;
  • The presence or absence of an odor of a drug;
  • The manner in which the driver operated the car;
  • The circumstances of any accident; and
  • The results of any blood test.

If there was evidence of a drug in the driver’s blood, the judge or jury must still consider the following:

  • The qualifications of the person who administered the test;
  • The lapse of time between the operation of the car and the administration of the test;
  • Whether the testing device used was in good working order; and
  • Whether the test was properly administered.

Penalties

If convicted of driving while under the influence of marijuana, a driver faces serious penalties including a fine of up to $1,000 and a six month license suspension. For a second conviction within ten years, however, this offense is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000, a four year prison sentence, and a one year license suspension. Furthermore, a judge can also order participation in a substance abuse treatment program and community service. Finally, for third and subsequent convictions, a defendant may be required to pay fines of up to $10,000, serve a seven year prison sentence, and use an ignition interlock device.

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Today

Having a DWI conviction on your record can make it much more difficult to secure employment, find housing, and take advantage of educational opportunities, so if you were arrested for driving while under the influence of marijuana, please contact the Law Offices of George Vomvolakis to schedule a free consultation with a dedicated and compassionate attorney who can explain your legal options.