While marijuana laws seem to be relaxing across the country, this isn’t the case in all states. Moreover, driving while under the influence of marijuana used recreationally is still illegal in every state in the U.S. In Indiana, a person is guilty of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) if they operate a vehicle while a controlled substance or its metabolite is present in the their body. State law doesn’t actually require that the driver be “impaired” for a DUI conviction. Moreover, cannabis metabolites can be detected in the body for several weeks after use. So, what happens if you are caught driving under the influence of marijuana in Indiana? In this article, we’ll go through the possible consequences.
Implied Consent for Testing
If you are driving a vehicle in Indiana, you have given implied consent to chemical testing as a condition of operating a vehicle in the state. If a police officer has probable cause to believe that you are driving under the influence, you must submit to testing. If you fail to do so, the officer will immediately revoke your license and suspend your driving privileges for a year, although there is an appeals process. Chemical tests must be administered within three hours but your failure to submit to testing can also be admitted as evidence in court.
The penalties for DUI in Indiana vary according to whether this is your first offense, or you have multiple DUI convictions.
- First offense: The first offense is a misdemeanor in Indiana, but it could still involve jail time for up to 365 days. Penalties may also include community service, a fine of up to $5,000, court fees of up to $785.50, a license suspension for up to one year, and probation for up to two years.
- Second offense: A second DUI in Indiana is a Level 6 felony if charged within five years of your most recent DUI conviction, and penalties include jail for a minimum of five days up to two and one-half years, a fine of up to $10,000, license suspension for a minimum of 180 days and up to two years, and probation for up to two and one-half years.
- Third offense: A third DUI offense in Indiana is also a Level 6 felony if charged within five years of your most recent DUI conviction, and penalties include jail for a minimum of 10 days and up to two and one-half years, a fine of up to $10,000, license suspension for a minimum of one year, and probation for up to two and one-half years.
Moreover, there are additional penalties and enhancers if someone is killed or injured or if a person under 18 years old is in the vehicle. Also, multiple DUI convictions can result in your driving privileges being suspended as a Habitual Traffic Violator, and can also result in your being sentenced as a Habitual Vehicluar Substance Offender.
If a driver consumed a controlled substance under a valid prescription from a physician acting in the course of their professional practice, it is an affirmative defense to a DUI charge.
As you can see, the consequences for driving under the influence of marijuana can be severe. If you’ve been charged with DUI, it is always a good idea to contact an attorney. At Razumich & Associates, we can help guide you through the process.