DUI laws can be tricky when it comes to legal limits for marijuana and alcohol. Washington State law allows folks who are 21 and older to have a small amount of alcohol and/or marijuana in their blood and still legally drive. Obviously, drivers will have a problem if the amount of alcohol and/or marijuana in their blood puts them over the legal limit. You may not realize you can still get in trouble if you’re driving or in physical control of a motor vehicle even if your breath or blood test shows you’re under the legal limit. In DUI law we call this the “affected by” prong. You can be found guilty of a DUI because your ability to drive was affected by alcohol or drugs and even if you’re under the legal limit.
The tricky part is knowing when you’re over the limit. There is over 100 years of scientific research about how our bodies process alcohol and its affects divided attention tasks, reaction time and fine motor skills. Widmark’s Formula helps estimate how many drinks it takes to be over the legal limit for alcohol. For details on this equation visit the Washington State Patrol’s Breathtest Program website. Some folks use the “one drink an hour” rule to try to stay under the limit. Certainly the best rule is to remove the guessing game and simply not drink alcohol before driving.
Marijuana is a different situation. For nearly a decade it’s been legal to use marijuana recreationally in Washington State. The law also allows those who are 21 years old and older to drive with a small amount of marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in their blood. The difficulty with marijuana impairment is that the research is relatively recent and relatively limited compared to the quantity of research for alcohol impairment. This makes it extremely difficult for drivers and law enforcement to know how much marijuana can be consumed before legally driving. That uncertainty is a big problem for folks who think they can consume a small amount of marijuana and still be safe from a DUI.
The safest way to avoid a DUI is to avoid alcohol, marijuana and other drugs before driving. If you or a loved one has been accused of a DUI with a breath or blood test over the legal limit or a DUI while affected by alcohol and/or drugs, then contact Cooney Law Offices today. We can help!