It is no secret that marijuana use is becoming more mainstream in America these days. After the most recent election cycle, over half of the states in the nation allow for the legal use of cannabis for medical purposes and 8 states allow for the recreational use as well. Tennessee, however, is not one of these states and marijuana use can still result in severe penalties, especially if it is associated with the operation of a vehicle.
The most common intoxicant in Tennessee is alcohol and the state’s driving under the influence (DUI) laws are generally based around drinking in one form or another. After many years of research, law enforcement agencies have decided that the most reliable and efficient way to determine intoxication from alcohol is by measuring the amount of alcohol in a person’s system. If the measurement is above a certain limit (0.08%) the individual is legally considered intoxicated.
Most law enforcement agencies have decided to use this same type of measurement standard with marijuana as well, even though the way marijuana reacts in the human body is much different than the way alcohol reacts. As a result, the Tennessee Code states that a driver can be charged with a DUI if any trace of cannabis is found in the driver’s system. Unfortunately for Tennessee drivers, traces of marijuana can remain in the human body long after any use.
Being charged with a marijuana-related DUI
Although a marijuana high will generally only last for a few hours, traces of the drug can remain the system for around a month after use. This can create an unfortunate situation for some drivers because they do not necessarily have to be impaired to be charged with a DUI.
For example, if a citizen of Tennessee goes on a trip to a state where marijuana use is legal, they legally uses the drug and then drives back to Tennessee, the driver could be charged with a DUI just for operating a vehicle with traces of the drug in their system. In these types of situations, the driver could face serious legal consequences even though they were not endangering anyone else on the road due to being high. The penalties include,
· First offense – A fine ranging from $350 to $1,500 and the driver’s license suspended for a year.
· Second offense – A fine ranging from $600 to $3,500, 45 to 11 month and 29 days of jail time and the driver’s license suspended for up to 2 years.
The penalties only get more severe from there. Regardless of the severity of the punishment, a DUI charge will seriously impact your future. In situations where you may be facing such a charge, it is highly suggested that you obtain the services of an experience and knowledgeable legal professional.