If the police pull you over, and suspect you are driving impaired, they may find evidence of marijuana or other drugs in the car, and charge you not only for the DUI, but for drug possession as well. Marijuana is illegal in Georgia, and possession of even a small amount can be a misdemeanor. Possession of larger amounts (1 ounce or more) is a felony. Georgia takes both DUI arrests and drug arrests very seriously, and getting arrested for both at the same time can result in harsh penalties for the driver.
Marijuana Possession Charges
If the police smell marijuana in the driver's car, or smell marijuana on the clothing of the driver or passengers of the car, they will often ask to search the car. Even if your refuse, the police may end up searching the car based on probable cause. If the police find marijuana in the car, you may be charged even if you were not physically in possession of the pot. If the drugs were in an area within reach, you may be charged with possession because they consider that you are in constructive possession of a controlled substance.
A first-time conviction for less than 1 ounce of marijuana is a misdemeanor offense. Penalties include up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. In addition, you may lose your driver's license for 6 months, even if you were not impaired, and are not convicted of a DUI. Second and subsequent offenses for marijuana possession have increased penalties.
Even without any actual drugs in the car, the police can still charge a driver with possession of drug paraphernalia. This could include a pipe, bong or other devices used to consume marijuana or hash. The penalties for drug paraphernalia possession are similar to marijuana possession, and can include a fine of up to $1,000 and jail of up to 1 year.
However, in some cases, marijuana possession charges may be dropped if the judge grants conditional discharge. A conditional discharge will result in dropped charges if you maintain the conditions of probation during the probationary period. It may also include other requirements such as drug education or counseling. A Georgia lawyer with experience representing people charged with drug and alcohol charges can often negotiate conditional discharge, or have the charges dismissed.
DUI for Drugs or Alcohol
Driving under the influence of alcohol or marijuana is a crime in Georgia. If the police suspect a driver to be under the influence, they will arrest them and take them to the police station for a chemical test. The police can chose to take a blood, breath or urine sample to test for the presence and concentration of drugs or alcohol. If you refuse to submit to a chemical test, then your license will automatically be suspended for 1-year, even if you were not impaired.
While alcohol stays in the body for hours before it is metabolized, the problem with testing the blood for marijuana is that THC and associated metabolites can stay in the body for days or even weeks, well after any effects of marijuana have worn off. Having a positive blood test for THC does not mean the driver is impaired, or an unsafe driver. An experienced Atlanta DUI lawyer will be able to investigate your case, and in some cases use expert witnesses to fight marijuana DUI charges. If the driver was not impaired while driving, then they should not be convicted of a DUI.
DUI with Marijuana Possession Defense in Georgia
If you have been charged with driving under the influence with marijuana in the car in Atlanta, it does not mean you have to be convicted. I have the training, courtroom experience, and skill to defend alcohol and marijuana DUI cases as well as marijuana possession charges. I will fight to get the charges against you dropped or reduced. Call me anytime, day or night, and I will fight for your rights.