Can I get a DUI for using medical marijuana?

Use of Medical Marijuana Can Lead to DUI Charges

Yes.  Regrettably, anyone that has used marijuana, both legally or illegally can be charged with a DUI.  A person obviously cannot drive while “impaired”, meaning a person cannot drive while they are high.  That makes sense.  However, Pennsylvania also prohibits a person from driving with marijuana metabolites in their system.  Metabolites are basically marijuana residue that remains in the body long after the marijuana was smoked.  Depending upon the amount of marijuana smoked or ingested and over what period of time, metabolites can remain in a person’s body for weeks or even months.  If the person’s blood is tested and metabolites are found in the blood, the person can be charged with a DUI.  Simply stated, anyone that uses medicinal marijuana will have marijuana metabolites in their blood, so that person can be charged and convicted of DUI.  If the person is convicted of a drug-related DUI, the person faces severe mandatory DUI sentences that include jail time, license suspension, and fines.

Do Not Tell Police or Admit to Using Medical Marijuana

It obviously makes no sense that Pennsylvania allows for the medicinal use of marijuana but allows for that person to be convicted of DUI.  Regrettably, the Pennsylvania state legislature never fixed the DUI law to eliminate the DUI charge based upon metabolites.  If a person is pulled over for any traffic violation, like speeding or a stop sign, the person should NOT inform the cop about medicinal marijuana use.  The admission to using marijuana gives the officer probable cause to arrest the person and required them to submit to a blood test as part of a DUI investigation.  In general, any medical marijuana should be left at home.  If you must travel with it, it should be in its original packaging and placed in the trunk.  If the officer smells or sees marijuana, the officer is going to investigate.  It should also be noted that a Pennsylvania medicinal marijuana card does not give a person legal authority to travel out-of-state with marijuana.  Many state still consider all marijuana possession to be illegal, and a Pennsylvania medical marijuana card may not be honored in another state.

Please do not email me to complain about the DUI law and tell me that it isn’t fair and that it is stupid.  I agree.  Please be aware that I did not write or pass the law.  If you don’t like the law, then contact your local politician, ask them to do their job, and ask them to fix the law so that people that lawfully use marijuana for medicinal purposes are not charged with DUIs.

If you have been charged with a DUI or other marijuana-related offense, contact an experienced State College DUI attorney via email at JD Law for a free consultation.