As attitudes toward cannabis evolve, so do legal considerations surrounding its use. However, driving under the influence of this substance remains a serious crime in Virginia.
Understanding state laws about cannabis DUI can help you navigate the legal landscape for this type of charge.
Defining DUI for cannabis
The state’s comprehensive DUI laws cover both drug and alcohol impairment. Courts treat driving under the influence of cannabis with the same gravity as drinking and driving.
Law enforcement officers in Virginia employ standardized field sobriety tests to assess impairment during traffic stops. These tests detect signs of impairment resulting from cannabis use or other substances. They may include walk-and-turn exercises and one-leg stands.
Officers may also use blood or urine tests to check for the presence of THC in your system. Similar to a blood alcohol test, this screening establishes the level of cannabis-related impairment.
Establishing legal thresholds
Virginia does not have a per se limit for THC concentration, unlike the established 0.08% BAC limit for alcohol. Instead, the state relies on the totality of circumstances. The court determines whether to pursue charges based on observed impairment and the results of standardized field sobriety tests and chemical tests.
Cannabis-related DUI convictions may result in fines, license suspension and mandatory participation in substance abuse education programs. Repeat offenses carry more severe penalties.
Virginia has a zero-tolerance approach for cannabis use among underage drivers. If you are younger than 21, any amount of THC in your system can result in DUI charges.
Nearly 19% of Virginia adults report using cannabis in the past year. Knowing the laws about cannabis DUI can help you avoid the severe legal consequences of a conviction.