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New Washington State Marijuana DUI Laws Take Effect

Posted by Aaron J. Wolff | Dec 07, 2012 | 0 Comments

Washington state residents can now legally smoke marijuana for recreational purposes.

But with the new law permitting recreational pot use, comes new standards for driving under the influence of pot.

Under these new DUI laws, any driver caught with a THC blood content level above five nanograms would be considered illegally driving under the influence. The law does not distinguish between medicinal marijuana users or recreational smokers. So medicinal smokers with a THC level above five may now be violating the law when they perform everyday tasks like driving to work, going to the supermarket, or even visiting their doctor.

If five nanograms of THC means nothing to you, some familiar with the measuring system say that this limit is so low that it would essentially make criminals of almost every medicinal marijuana smoker who gets behind the wheel. So what's a medicinal marijuana user to do? Should you hire a driver to take you everywhere or simply stop driving to work?

Unfortunately, the answer is not all that clear. While the new DUI law does set a numerical standard for allowable THC, the job of law enforcement officers has not really changed. That's because it had always been a crime to drive under the influence of marijuana in Washington. Now we just know exactly how much THC is considered to be under the influence.

This is similar to how a blood alcohol content of 0.08 is considered over the legal limit, and anyone with a blood alcohol content above this level is legally considered drunk. This is true regardless of how well you can drive.

No one knows yet the impact of the new marijuana DUI standards. That's why if you are arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana, it is critical that you work with an experienced attorney. Without the assistance of a qualified attorney, you face an uphill battle in your defense.

The DUI attorneys at Wolff Criminal Defense are here to provide professional legal assistance in Seattle and King County. We will work with you to get a fair trial, and our award-winning lawyers will stand by you every step of the way. Call us today at 425-284-2000, or visit us at to set up a consultation.

About the Author

Aaron J. Wolff

A former DUI prosecutor, Aaron Wolff has over 18 years of experience in representing people accused of DUI and is recognized as one of the leading defense lawyers in Washington State. His relentless and passionate advocacy has lead to superb ratings and outstanding reviews from former clients.


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