DWI Marijuana Lawyer in St. Louis, MO. With efforts to decriminalize marijuana underway across the United States, many people are wondering about the knock-on effect the decriminalization–and indeed, legalization–of cannabis will have on other laws that are currently in place. Arguably the biggest law we get asked about in this regard is driving while intoxicated (also known as DWI) with marijuana as a determining factor.
While charges such as possession may be more relaxed as cannabis becomes more accepted nationwide, driving while intoxicated–even if you are in a state where adult-use cannabis is fully legal, or you have a legal medical marijuana prescription–remains a serious offense.
The experienced DWI with marijuana lawyers at Combs Law Group are here to answer all your questions related to marijuana and DWI laws in Missouri. If you have been pulled over recently for DWI with officers also suspecting that you had used marijuana, contact our experienced St. Louis, MO DWI law firm today for a free consultation about your case. We can help you answer the following questions and more.
Can You Still Get A DWI If You Have Used Cannabis But Not Alcohol?
Yes. While DWI charges are often based on your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) at the time the arresting officer pulled you over, it is not the only way one can be charged with DWI. The “I” in “DWI” stands for “Intoxicated”, which includes being under the influence of alcohol, prescription drugs, controlled substances, or any combination of the above. Once you are buckled in and started to drive a car, it does not matter what substance you have used–all that matters is if you are or aren’t impaired.
Can I Refuse A Drug or Alcohol Test?
No. When you operate a motor vehicle in Missouri, you automatically give the police or highway patrol your implied consent to submit to testing of your blood, breath, saliva, or urine to determine if you are under the influence of drugs or not. If you refuse, you will be found guilty of DUI via a summary judgement. In addition, you will automatically have your license suspended for a full year–regardless of what the test actually found. Combs Law Group tells its clients that it is always in their best interest to submit to drug/alcohol testing, even if you know you will be found to be intoxicated at the time.
What Penalties Are There For Driving While High?
Even though cannabis is becoming decriminalized in many states, and possession laws are being relaxed even within Missouri, driving under the influence of any substance is a serious criminal offense. While you may feel in total control of your faculties, the law penalizes all citizens the same way, regardless of how individuals feel while under the influence of marijuana.
In Missouri, the DWI laws for being under the influence of cannabis are exactly the same as if you were pulled over for driving drunk. The penalties are as follows:
- First Offense: this is a Class B misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of up to six months in jail. In addition, your drivers’ license will be suspended for 30 days, and you will have to complete a SATOP (Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program) class.
- Second Offense (within 5 years of your first DWI) is a Class A misdemeanor. This carries a maximum of one year in jail (with a minimum of 5 days “shock time”), 60 days of community service, and a fine of up to $5,000. Your driving privileges will also be revoked for a minimum of three years.
- A third DWI offense is now a Class D felony, which has a maximum penalty of up to four years in state prison (with a minimum of five days “shock time”, a fine of no more than $5,000, and 60 days’ community service. Your license will also be revoked for at least three years, but even more importantly you will have a felony on your record. Having a felony can greatly impact the type of jobs you can apply for and take away some of the rights you enjoy today such as the right to vote in an election. The Combs Law Group has experience helping felony clients of all types, and if you are facing a felony DWI charge you should contact us immediately.
- If you get a fourth DWI offense, this is a Class C felony. Missouri state sentencing guidelines outline a maximum penalty of no less than 60 days and no more than 7 years in state prison and a fine of up to $5,000 for Class C felonies. In addition, your driving license will be revoked for a minimum of 3 years.
- Fifth DWI offenses are a Class B felony, which comes with 5 to 10 years in prison and a license revocation for at least three years.
Does Missouri Do Sobriety Checkpoints?
Yes. Missouri officers can set up checkpoints on any road to test any and all drivers at random. If you see a checkpoint sign or set up, you cannot avoid it by, for instance, doing a U-turn. In many cases, officers are stationed behind the checkpoint and will follow drivers who attempt to escape it. They take this as probable cause for you being under the influence and thus will pull you over.
Officers can even set up “fake” checkpoint signs, such as on a highway before an off-ramp. These are used as bait for drivers: when they exit the freeway, police cars are stationed there to pull vehicles over who appear to be avoiding the checkpoint, even though in actuality one did not exist.
Can I Get A DWI I Got While High Expunged In Missouri?
No. While Missouri does allow for a first-offense DWI to be removed from one’s driving record after 10 years, at this time that option is only available to those whose intoxication was due to alcohol, not drugs. This may change, however, if cannabis is legalized for recreational use. While this is not currently the case in Missouri, there is a strong movement to legalize adult-use marijuana in the near future. If this happens, do not hesitate to contact an experienced Missouri DWI lawyer who can help you understand changes in the law and how they may affect you.
What Should I Do If I Am Pulled Over While Intoxicated in St. Louis, Missouri?
While it may go against your instincts to do so, you should comply with all the officer’s requests when you are pulled over on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Show them your license and registration. If they ask you to under field sobriety tests, comply and stay calm. Do not admit to being under the influence of any substance unless they have solid proof that you are indeed intoxicated. If they arrest you, request to speak to an attorney. It is always a good idea to have an attorney in mind and their number readily available so you won’t waste time searching for one, and you can get a trusted St. Louis, MO criminal defense lawyer on your case as soon as possible.
Contact An Experienced DWI Attorney In St. Louis, Missouri
If you have been arrested for driving while intoxicated in Missouri and your intoxication was due to consuming cannabis, it is vital that you contact an experienced St. Louis, MO DWI criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Losing your license, even just for the minimum 30 days, can cause you serious difficulty and prevent you for earning a living. Your Missouri DWI lawyer may be able to completely prevent your license from being suspended, so it is worth your time to speak to one.
Combs Law Group has experienced DWI attorneys who are dedicated to fighting all kinds of DWI cases, including those that came about due to being high on cannabis. Our firm fights aggressively for all our clients to ensure their charges are minimized or outright dismissed. Call us today at (314) 900-HELP for a free, no-obligation case discussion so we can get to work on your case and get you the best possible outcome.