Can You Get a DUI While High?
Nebraska law makes it illegal to operate or be in “actual physical control” of a motor vehicle while under the influence of either alcohol or drugs.
You are considered to be “under the influence” if your ability to safely drive is impaired to any “appreciable degree.”
So can you get a DUI for weed? The answer is, yes.
You can get a marijuana DUI if the state can show that your use of weed impaired your driving.
However, both chemical tests and field sobriety tests can be unreliable in determining impairment based on drug use. An experienced DUI attorney can assist you in challenging the DUI evidence and help you put on a strong defense.
Penalties for DUI
Penalties for DUI in Nebraska include jail time, fines, and license suspension. These penalties increase if you have previous DUI convictions.
First-time offenders serve 7 to 60 days in jail, pay a $500 fine, and have their license suspended for six months. Penalties increase with each additional DUI conviction.
For example, a third conviction gets you 90 days to a year in jail, a $1,000 fine, and a 15-year license suspension. A fifth conviction can result in two to 20 years in jail, a $25,000 fine, and a 15-year license suspension. These penalties may be reduced if the judge orders probation.
How Can You Get Out of a DUI for Driving High?
A charge for driving under the influence of alcohol is often easy to prove. The state just has to show that you had a blood alcohol content of .08% or more. They can often demonstrate this with a simple blood or breathalyzer test.
A charge for DUI based on drug use can be much more difficult to prove. Marijuana use, in particular, poses a substantial hurdle because its effects can be hard to measure.
One study showed that for frequent marijuana users, THC—the drug chemical tests look for to show the presence of marijuana—can linger in the blood for up to 33 days after marijuana was used.
Another study showed that THC concentrations are higher in frequent smokers than occasional smokers. In fact, for some infrequent smokers, THC may be virtually undetectable, even when they have used marijuana recently. Currently, there is no way to objectively demonstrate marijuana DUI based on chemical tests.
There is also no agreement about what tests might reliably show drug impairment. The standard field sobriety tests administered by police are designed specifically to detect alcohol-related impairment. But multiple studies have shown that police struggle to detect drug use with these tests.
If you have been charged with DUI for weed, there are many ways to challenge the state’s case. If police relied on chemical tests or standard field sobriety tests to support a marijuana DUI, a skilled attorney will point out the scientific limitations of these tests and work to undermine the evidence against you.
Contact a Nebraska DUI Attorney
If you have been charged with DUI in Nebraska for drug use, contact Tom Petersen at Petersen Criminal Defense Law. With more than 15 years of experience, Tom has the necessary skills and background to effectively defend clients against serious criminal charges.
He offers a free and confidential case evaluation to answer your questions and determine how to proceed with your defense. Call today to see how Petersen Criminal Defense Law can help you beat your DUI charge.