Driving under the influence (DUI) charges aren’t just handed out to drunk drivers in Georgia. Even motorists impaired by drugs or controlled substances can face DUI charges, especially if their level of intoxication is enough to severely impact their driving capabilities.
One such substance that officers are on the lookout for is cannabis. Also popularly known as marijuana, cannabis remains illegal for recreational use in most parts of Georgia. However, the state allows medical cannabis but in extremely strict concentrations. But whether it’s a recreational or medical type of marijuana, officers can test you for the substance through various chemical tests involving blood, saliva or urine tests.
If you’ve used cannabis before driving and an officer pulls you over for a traffic stop, you’ll likely face a DUI charge. Per Georgia law, you can be charged for having any amount of marijuana in your system. What sort of penalties awaits you if you’re convicted?
The penalties for a cannabis DUI conviction
If you’ve been convicted of a DUI for having cannabis in your system, you’ll face the same penalties as those charged for drunk driving. These include:
- First offense: Up to 12 months in jail and a maximum $1,000 fine. The court might also ask you to render at least 40 hours of community service, probation and a DUI education course.
- Second offense: Also up to 12 months in jail and a maximum $1,000 fine. 40 hours of community service/probation/DUI education. You may have to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle.
- Third offense: Up to 12 months jail time and a maximum fine of $5,000. 40 hours of community service/probation/DUI education. You may have to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle.
- Fourth offense: Your conviction upgrades to a felony with a five-year prison sentence and a $5,000 fine.
Your license will also be suspended in Georgia every time you’re charged for DUI. The Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) can suspend your license for up to five years, depending on the circumstances. But if you’re convicted of DUI for a third time, DDS will revoke your license.
The DDS handles your license suspension/revocation case separately from the criminal court. The result of one wouldn’t impact the other, so you could win one but lose the other.
It’s dangerously easy to get a DUI charge for using cannabis. If you face charges, you might want to consult a legal professional to understand your options and plan to contest the accusations in court.