Virginia Cannabis Laws: Staying Sober Behind the Wheel Is a “High” Priority

Virginia Cannabis Laws: Staying Sober Behind the Wheel Is a “High” Priority

As of July 2021, Virginian adults ages 21 years and older can legally possess up to one ounce of marijuana on their person. With that being said, hitting a joint, eating an edible, or consuming cannabis in any form prior to getting behind the wheel of a car remains illegal — and could have criminal consequences.

Survey Indicates That Virginians Do Not Think Driving While High Is As Dangerous As Texting

In a recent survey by the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority (CCA),  14% of Virginians surveyed disclosed that they have driven high a few times or more in the past year. Other startling statistics include the following:

  • 26% viewed driving while high as “extremely dangerous” (compared to 49% for alcohol-impaired driving and 60% for texting while driving); and
  • 47% of surveyed marijuana users “do not always have a plan for a sober ride.”

Despite these statistics, the law is clear: You could be charged with a DUI/DWI if you drive while under the influence of marijuana. If you drive high and are pulled over by police, remember that you have the right to remain silent and should contact an attorney as soon as possible.

Virginia DUI & DWI Penalties

In Virginia, the terms DUI (Driving Under the Influence) and DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) are used interchangeably. First and second-time DWI convictions are misdemeanors that require license suspension, payment of fines up to $2,500, and possible jail time. In addition, you will receive points on your license, your driver’s license will be suspended, and you may even serve time in jail if you are convicted.

A third DWI conviction is a felony in Virginia and could result in up to 5 years in prison if you are convicted.

In addition, you may be subject to additional penalties if:

  • A child was in the car at the time of the arrest;
  • Property was damaged;
  • Someone was injured;
  • You have a commercial license and were driving a commercial vehicle;
  • You refused to submit to breath or blood test; and/or
  • You were under 21.

An experienced Virginia DUI/DWI defense attorney can help you avoid these harsh penalties. If you have been charged with a DWI in Virginia, your lawyer will explore every defense option to secure the best possible outcome in your case.