Can You Be Arrested for Driving High?

Driving under the influence of any substance that impairs one’s ability to operate a vehicle safely is a serious offense. When most people consider driving under the influence, they typically think of alcohol. However, with the increasing legalization of cannabis in various jurisdictions, driving high poses significant legal implications. The laws are clear: individuals found operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana can indeed find themselves facing arrest and subsequent legal penalties.

Each state has its own specific regulations and thresholds for what constitutes impairment by marijuana. The presence of THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis, in a driver’s bloodstream can be enough for law enforcement to proceed with an arrest. Tools and methods for detecting impairment from cannabis are evolving, with some parallels to the breathalyzer tests used to measure blood alcohol content, but the science of detecting marijuana impairment is complex and still under development.

The consequences of driving high are not limited to legal repercussions; they entail a gamut of potential safety risks. The impairments caused by cannabis can significantly affect a driver’s reaction time, coordination, and decision-making abilities. The public safety risks tied to driving while impaired by any substance are underscored by stringent laws and penalties aimed at deterring such behavior, underscoring the importance of being sober behind the wheel.

The legal team at Kirsch & Kirsch, LLC is dedicated to protecting the rights of our clients, scrutinizing the circumstances of the arrest, the methods of testing for drug impairment, and the procedures followed by law enforcement. We are committed to providing a personalized defense strategy, taking into account the specific details of each case. Our goal is to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients, whether it’s a reduction of charges, acquittal, or alternative sentencing. With a deep understanding of the law and a client-focused approach, Kirsch & Kirsch, LLC stands as a strong advocate for those accused of DUI with the allegation of driving high.

Photo of a Man in Handcuffs

Understanding DUI Laws

Driving under the influence of drugs (DUI) is illegal. This section outlines specific regulations in Missouri and the ramifications of drug-impaired driving.

Missouri Laws and the Legality of Drug Use While Driving

In Missouri, it is unlawful for an individual to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or controlled substances. Missouri Revised Statutes Section 577.010 and Section 577.012 are the primary legislations that govern DUI for marijuana and other drugs. Regardless of whether the substance is legally prescribed or is an illegal narcotic, driving while impaired is an offense. The definition of impairment is not restricted to a specific level of the substance; any amount that impairs one’s ability to drive can lead to a DUI charge.

Consequences of Driving Under the Influence of Drugs

The consequences of driving high in Missouri can vary depending on several factors such as the level of impairment, prior offenses, and the presence of aggravating circumstances. Here are some specifics:

  • First Offense: A Class B misdemeanor, which may result in up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, and a 90-day license suspension.
  • Second Offense: Classified as a Class A misdemeanor, with potential penalties including up to one year of jail time, a fine of up to $2,000, and a one-year license revocation.
  • Subsequent Offenses: Can be considered felonies with more severe penalties, longer jail sentences, higher fines, and extended or permanent license revocations.

Driving under the influence of drugs poses serious legal repercussions and endangers public safety. Missouri laws are designed to discourage drug-impaired driving and encourage responsible behavior behind the wheel.

Navigating Legal Proceedings

When facing DUI charges, especially involving substances like marijuana, enlisting the right DUI lawyer is crucial. The strategies used and the attorney’s role are pivotal to navigating the legal landscape.

Role of a DUI Attorney

A DUI attorney is an invaluable asset in any driving-under-the-influence (DUI) case. They guide the defendant through the legal process, from arraignment to trials and any negotiations in between. They ensure that the defendant’s rights are protected and build a defense that may include challenging the legality of traffic stops or the accuracy of any substance testing procedures.

Choosing the Right Legal Representative

Selecting a legal representative for a DUI case centers on expertise and experience. Defendants should:

  • Look for attorneys specializing in DUI laws.
  • Check the attorney’s track record in handling similar cases.
  • Evaluate clear communication and legal strategy presented by the attorney.
  • Consider the attorney’s knowledge of state-specific DUI laws and procedures.

It’s not only about qualifications, but also about finding an attorney with whom defendants are comfortable discussing their case.

Photo of Drunk Driving

Common Defense Strategies in DUI Cases

In cases of DUI related to marijuana or other drugs, common defense strategies may include:

  • Questioning the validity of the drug test results: This strategy explores the accuracy of the testing methods and the possibility of false positives.
  • Challenging the traffic stop: The defense may argue that the officer had no just cause to make the traffic stop in the first place.
  • Arguing against the level of impairment: Just because a substance is present doesn’t necessarily indicate impairment at the time of driving, which is often central to a DUI charge.

These defenses require a thorough understanding of both the law and the specifics of the accused’s case. The team at Kirsch & Kirsch, LLC is able to mount a legal defense for those who are charged with a DUI for driving high. 

Kirsch & Kirsch, LLC is a law firm that focuses on criminal defense, offering robust legal services to individuals facing DUI charges, specifically those accused of driving under the influence of drugs. Recognizing the complexity of DUI cases involving drugs, our firm’s experienced attorneys are well-versed in navigating the nuances of such charges, which can differ significantly from alcohol-related DUIs. We understand that the legal threshold and evidence required to prove impairment by drugs can be more subjective and thus requires a strategic defense.