The Ultimate Guide to Marijuana Traffic Stops in Missouri
The Ultimate Guide to Marijuana Traffic Stops in Missouri
With marijuana dispensaries in St. Louis and throughout Missouri open and able to sell recreational weed, the door is now both literally and figuratively open to consumers 21 and over who wish to use the drug. This came about because of Amendment 3, which Missouri voters passed by a 53-47 margin in late 2022 to become the 21st state to allow adults to use weed for nonmedical purposes.
The passage also raised the risk of someone consuming cannabis products and then choosing to drive. Due to this increased likelihood, law enforcement has boosted its focus on driving under the influence of drugs in Missouri. Combs Law Group is at the forefront of defending marijuana charges in St. Louis and throughout Missouri. Call our criminal defense lawyers today at (314) 900-HELP or contact us online.
What the Science Says About Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana in Missouri
Marijuana affects the areas of the brain that control how your body moves – balance, coordination, memory, and judgment – according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When you consume cannabis products, it can slow reaction time, impair coordination, and distort perception, all of which are essential skills for safe driving.
Studies show an association between marijuana use and car crashes – including one survey of existing data that people operating a motor vehicle after smoking cannabis were about twice as likely to be involved in a traffic accident – but the CDC reports that more research is needed. Testing for drug impairment is difficult because of a lack of drug-detecting technology and no exact number to determine impairment like there is with blood alcohol concentration level. Marijuana can also stay in a person’s system for weeks, and could appear in roadside tests despite no longer causing impairment.
If you have experienced a marijuana traffic stop, have been charged with a DUI, or have been questioned regarding possession or use of drugs, call a Combs Law Group St. Louis marijuana charges lawyer at (314) 900-HELP or reach out to us online.
Can I Legally Drive With Marijuana In My Vehicle In St. Louis and Throughout Missouri ?
Under Amendment 3, Missourians are able to “purchase, consume, possess, use, ingest, inhale, process, transport, deliver without a price, or distribute without a cost 3 ounces or less of dried, unprocessed marijuana.” Anything in excess of 3 ounces needs to be kept in a locked area that is not publicly visible, otherwise a driver would be subject to:
- First violation: Will be a civil infraction punishable by a civil penalty not exceeding $250
- Second violation: Is still a civil infraction, with a civil penalty not exceeding $500
- Third or subsequent violations: A misdemeanor punishable by a fine not exceeding $1,500
Call Combs Law Group today at (314) 900-HELP or contact us online.
While you can legally drive with marijuana in your vehicle, you can’t have anyone smoking or ingesting it while the vehicle is in operation. Also, individuals are not allowed to possess or consume marijuana or possess marijuana accessories on the grounds of a public or private school, in a school bus, or on the grounds of any correctional facility, whether inside a vehicle or not.
How Does Law Enforcement Determine Impaired Driving in Missouri?
Even before an officer pulls someone over in St. Louis or elsewhere throughout Missouri, they will check for telltale signs of impairment, like swerving, speeding, or other sorts of reckless driving. But testing for weed isn’t as easy as a breathalyzer test, so the officer conducts three tests which are standard practice:
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, where the officer looks for if the driver’s eye is involuntarily jerking.
- The Walk-and-Turn Test, which measures a person’s divided attention skills.
- The One-Leg Stand while counting or answering questions.
If the driver can’t pass two of the three tests, the officer will often determine them to be impaired. Some St. Louis and Missouri police officers are specially trained to recognize signs of drug impairment. These Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) are called to the scene if the patrolling officer can not determine if the driver is impaired or what substance is impairing them.
What Are the Penalties For Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana in Missouri?
Driving under the influence in Missouri is a Class B misdemeanor for first-time offenders and can result in up to six months in jail and a $500 fine. Subsequent infractions can lead to a year in jail and no more than $2,000 in fines.
Can St. Louis or Missouri Officers Search Your Car?
Evidence of marijuana alone – such as the odor of marijuana – is no longer reason enough for a search or arrest warrant. Only specific evidence indicating that the cannabis is outside of the legal parameters would allow for a search. However, in driving cases, the odor can still be used as reasonable suspicion to conduct a DUI investigation. Other lawful activity related to cannabis cannot be the basis for violation of parole or probation.
The Ultimate Guide to Marijuana Traffic Stops in Missouri | Combs Law Group
With enhanced attention from law enforcement on marijuana traffic stops in St. Louis and throughout Missouri, you need an experienced, trustworthy law firm on your side. The Combs Law Group criminal defense lawyers know the ins and outs of St. Louis and Missouri law, and how to apply it to build the best possible defense. When your future is hanging in the balance, you need the best possible attorney fighting for you.
Call a Combs Law Group St. Louis marijuana charges attorney today at (314) 900-HELP or contact us online for a free, confidential case review.