Penalties of a Marijuana DWI in North Carolina
Being convicted of a Marijuana DWI can result in serious consequences. Yet, many North Carolina citizens aren’t aware that a DWI charge applies to drivers under the influence of marijuana. In some states, DWI stands for “driving while intoxicated”, so many assume this means alcohol only. In North Carolina, a DWI indicates that someone is “driving while impaired” and can be applied to anyone operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, marijuana or even legally prescribed medication. At Knox Law Center, we provide premium legal defense for men and women who have been arrested for crimes in Charlotte, North Carolina and surrounding cities. Here is some helpful information that might clarify the confusion about DWI laws in North Carolina.
The Importance of Appreciable Impairment
In order to convict someone for a marijuana DWI charge, the state must prove “appreciable impairment”. This means that the arresting officer must provide proof that your physical and mental faculties were noticeably impaired at the time you were pulled over. This task is simple when related to alcohol consumption, since the police can immediately give you a breathalyzer and/or blood test. However, THC performs differently in the body. It can take hours for THC to appear in the blood and unlike alcohol, remnants of THC can remain in the system for weeks after ingestion. This makes it difficult to predict the exact hour or day that the marijuana was used. Still, the officer can testify that the driver was speeding, driving too slowly, weaving in and out of traffic or breaking multiple traffic laws. In addition, police can also give a field sobriety test, and those results can be turned over to the judge. Officers might also indicate in the police report that they smelled marijuana or noticed other behaviors that were out of the ordinary.
Potential Penalties Associated with Marijuana Related DWI’s
Marijuana DWI’s in North Carolina are misdemeanors with varying levels of sentencing. Several factors may be considered when determining the severity of punishment, including prior criminal record, whether harm was caused to people or property and having minors present in the vehicle at the time of arrest. First time offenders with the least severe penalty might face a fine or 24 hour jail sentence. On the other hand, those who receive a level one sentence might have to pay up to $4,000 in fines and 30 days in jail. In addition, refusing to take a blood test in North Carolina can also result in the immediate suspension of the accused driver’s license.
Have You Been Charged with a DWI in North Carolina? Call Knox Law Center Today
Getting arrested for a serious crime can be extremely intimidating. Let the experienced criminal attorneys at Knox Law Center help. Edward Knox has proudly served residents of the Charlotte, NC area for many decades. As a former North Carolina State Senator, and Mayor of Charlotte, Mr. Knox has a unique perspective of the legal system. Contact our office for more information or to schedule an appointment for your confidential evaluation.