Oregon has permitted the use of recreational marijuana since 2015. This may be why some people think it’s okay to drive while high. Everyone knows that driving under the influence of alcohol is a crime. However, you may not know that Oregon’s laws also prohibit driving under the influence of marijuana. Notably, the offense is called driving under the influence of intoxicants. Intoxicants include marijuana, opioids, methamphetamines, and some prescription and over-the-counter medications.
The reality is that you can’t drive safely if you’re impaired by any kind of substance, whether legal or illegal. You’ll put both yourself and other road users at risk. Unfortunately, there are lots of misconceptions surrounding marijuana use. Some people believe that marijuana can’t impair driving or even that it could make you drive more safely.
However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that marijuana users were more likely to be involved in accidents. The NHTSA acknowledged that this may be partly explained by the fact that marijuana users are more likely to be young men. They generally tend to be at a higher risk of crashing.
Still, one study found that THC impairs cognition, driving ability, and psychomotor performance. Another piece of research revealed that THC reduces drivers’ ability to multitask. It is, therefore, not surprising that drugged driving is against the law. If you’re facing charges linked to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you need to contact a Portland DUI lawyer.
How Oregon’s DUI Laws Are Applied to Marijuana
A driver is presumed to be intoxicated if they have a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or more. However, there’s no specific amount of THC that’s linked to impairment. Furthermore, marijuana metabolites can be detected in the urine for weeks after use. Therefore, even if there was marijuana in your blood, the police couldn’t know for sure when you used it.
In Oregon, there’s no per se law relating to marijuana. This means there’s no set concentration of THC that would trigger a DUI charge regardless of whether your ability to drive was impaired. Where alcohol is concerned, it doesn’t matter whether you can drive safely. As long as you’re above the legal limit you can be arrested and charged.
Where marijuana is concerned your driving will have to be visibly impaired in some way. If the police pull you over, it should be because they have probable cause. They may have seen you driving recklessly or perhaps you had a busted taillight. If they detect impairment when they interact with you, they will probe further. They may ask if you’ve been drinking or using drugs or inquire about where you’re coming from.
The officer is then likely to ask you to take a field sobriety test. You have the right to refuse but if the officer has reason to suspect you’re intoxicated, they can arrest you. They would then ask you to take a chemical test. The first substance they will check for is alcohol via a breath test. If your blood alcohol concentration is below the legal limit, they will request a urine test. If you refuse to give a sample, you will be hit with a traffic violation fine and a suspended driver’s license. Your refusal will also be used against you in court.
DUI Penalties in Oregon
If you are found guilty of driving under the influence of intoxicants, you’ll face serious penalties including the suspension of your driver’s license. The exact punishment will depend on the circumstances surrounding your case and whether you have any previous DUIs. First-time offenders will have to spend a minimum of 48 hours in jail or carry out 80 hours of community service. However, they could be sentenced to up to a year in jail. First-time offenders also have to pay a fine of between $1,000 and $6,250.
Beyond criminal and administrative penalties, there’s also personal and professional fall out linked to a DUII conviction. Even though marijuana use is largely accepted, a DUI will still be frowned upon. You could lose educational and job opportunities and your reputation. That’s why you must hire an experienced attorney.
Get Help from the Trilogy Law Group
If you’re arrested for driving under the influence of intoxicants, you need to contact a Portland DUI attorney. Marijuana DUIs are no less serious than those relating to alcohol or other substances. You’ll need to have someone on your side who understands the law and who will fight for the best possible outcome. Call the Trilogy Law Group today and talk to an experienced attorney who will defend you against your charges.