How Marijuana Impacts Drivers: A Legal Perspective

Photo of a male driver lighting an unidentified object to smoke in his car.

With the legalization of marijuana now official in Minnesota, many people have questions about how it will affect driving. While marijuana may be legal for those over 21, it is important to remember that driving under the influence of any substance, including marijuana, is still illegal and can have serious consequences.

Why THC and Driving Don’t Mix

Marijuana contains a psychoactive compound called THC, which affects brain function and can lead to impairments in driving ability. Some common effects of marijuana use include:

  • Slowed reaction time
  • Impaired coordination
  • Altered perception of time and distance
  • Decreased concentration

These effects can make it difficult for a driver to respond quickly to changing road conditions and make safe decisions while behind the wheel.

THC-Related DUIs

According to a study by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), drug-impaired driving has become a major highway safety issue, with a 48% increase in weekend nighttime drivers who tested positive for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) over a 7-year period. However, they also found that, unlike alcohol, the THC concentration level in the blood does not correlate with driver impairment. In other words, THC could still be detected in your blood long after you consume it and beyond any feelings of impairment. That makes for complicated legal issues surrounding all DUI arrests related to THC and why hiring an attorney right away is crucial.

The Legal Ramifications

As mentioned earlier, driving under the influence of any substance, including marijuana, is illegal in Minnesota. If you are caught driving while impaired by marijuana, you could face serious legal consequences, including:

  • Jail time
  • Fines of $1,000 or more
  • License suspension
  • Installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID)
  • Drug counseling

Additionally, if you cause an accident while impaired, you may be held liable for any damages or injuries that result, which could lead to considerable financial and legal trouble.

Related Reading

How New Marijuana Laws Impact Drug Testing

Were You Arrested for Driving Under the Influence of Drugs in Minnesota?

If you have been arrested and accused of driving under the influence of a controlled substance, contact Caplan & Tamburino Law Firm, P.A. and speak with a Minneapolis DWI lawyer about what to do next. With your rights and driving privileges on the line, you should not risk a criminal conviction by attempting to handle your charges without the help of an experienced lawyer.

We’re available 24/7 to offer you a FREE case evaluation. Call (612) 444-5020 now.

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