Is Driving While Under the Influence of Marijuana Illegal in Massachusetts?

Is Driving While Under the Influence of Marijuana Illegal in Massachusetts?

Like many other states, Massachusetts has made significant progress in the areas of marijuana decriminalization and legalization. However, lawmakers believe there is still much left to be done, especially when it comes to driving while under the influence. While we have a long-standing legal process in place for dealing with drunk drivers, the same cannot be said for “high” drivers. So, what exactly happens when you are caught behind the wheel while under the influence of marijuana? How do police test people for this drug? How are lawmakers planning to change existing laws?

All of these questions are best left answered by a qualified criminal defense attorney in Massachusetts. Our legal professionals can not only explain how the Bay State deals with drivers under the influence of cannabis, but we can also defend you in court if you are facing criminal charges.

It is Still a DUI
First of all, it is important to note that if you drive while under the influence of marijuana in Massachusetts, it is still considered a DUI. If you have ingested virtually any substance that can impair your judgment behind the wheel, you will be charged with a DUI. These substances might include alcohol or legal drugs such as marijuana or prescription pills. Your first offense may lead to fines, house arrest, and license suspension, although you can pursue probation and an alternative disposition instead. These penalties increase all the way up to a fifth offense, which leads to felony charges, years in prison, and the loss of your license for life.

How do police test individuals for marijuana? That is where it gets a little tricky. Implied consent laws only apply to alcohol, which means that you do not need to submit to a chemical test if police suspect you of being high behind the wheel. In addition, testing for marijuana is difficult, as the presence of THC remains in your body for up to a month after the initial joint or edible. This means that someone could test positive for marijuana despite being completely sober. However, more advanced testing methods assess the concentration of THC in the bloodstream, which can indicate recent ingestion.

Governor Baker’s New Bill
On November 10th, Governor Baker targeted “high drivers” with a new bill. If passed, your license will be revoked for six months if you drive under the influence of marijuana and refuse to take a chemical test. In addition, you would be charged for having loose or unsealed packages of marijuana in your vehicle, which is similar to the open container laws for alcohol.

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today
If you have been searching the Massachusetts area for a qualified, experienced criminal defense attorney, look no further than the Law Offices of Johnson, Sclafani & Moriarty. Over the years, we have helped numerous individuals who faced criminal charges due to driving while intoxicated. While it is true that the laws involving marijuana intoxication are a little vague, the consequences could be serious. Book your consultation today, and we can immediately get started on an effective defense strategy. Call us now at 413-732-8356