Does an OWI charge apply to marijuana?

On Behalf of | Apr 15, 2020 | Firm News

With the growing legalization and medicinal use allowance in other states, Wisconsin has currently not changed its laws. It is still illegal for you to have or use marijuana.

That means if caught driving under the influence of marijuana, you could face OWI charges.

OWI penalties

The Cap Times outlines the penalties for operating while intoxicated. Drivers face similar charges with a 0.08% blood alcohol level or higher and any amounts of drugs in their system. First-time offenders can have their license revoked for six to nine months and pay $150-$300 in fines. You can expect similar charges if this is your second offense, but more than 10 years have lapsed between charges.

The “implied consent” law affects drivers under the influence of alcohol and marijuana. When a police officer pulls you over, he or she can immediately screen or test you. The state has a zero-tolerance policy for drivers with marijuana of any amount in their system, especially during an accident.

Impairment proof

For drivers under the influence of alcohol, police officers have a variety of testing methods to determine blood alcohol levels. Unfortunately, the same is not true for marijuana. Currently, the blood tests look for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol in any detectable amount to prove impairment.

Proof of impairment for drivers under the influence of marijuana is not a requirement. Law enforcement officials need only suspect drivers to arrest them. These officials rely on indicators such as pupil reactions when on the scene of an accident to determine if someone might have an impairment caused by a controlled substance. Not all officers undergo the extensive training required to make identification as accurate as possible.