What Maryland Drivers Should Expect With the Legalization of Marijuana

Marijuana laws are state laws. Maryland voters agreed to legalize the use of recreational marijuana in November 2022 and as of July 1 it is perfectly legal for adults 21 or older to consume cannabis. However, like any mind or mood altering substance, driving under the influence of marijuana is still illegal and can still result in serious dangers or injuries to other drivers. 

Below, the experienced attorneys at Lauenstein Law Firm discuss the dangers of driving while under the influence of marijuana and what to do if you are injured in an accident.

Can I Get a DUI for Marijuana in Maryland?

Whether it’s getting behind the wheel after a few drinks or a few joints the combination of being under the influence and driving is extremely dangerous and can even result in a DWI (driving while impaired) charge. 

Just like alcohol, driving while high can impact a driver’s abilities and increases the possibility of automobile accidents. From delayed reaction times and decision making, to disrupted coordination or perception, there are a number of reasons why it is important to avoid what can be a lethal combination. Even if you used marijuana hours before driving, it can affect your driving abilities for up to four hours and 30 min after use so if you are going to drive, you should avoid using marijuana to reduce the risk of a car accident. 

Since driving under the influence remains illegal, an officer can legally pull a driver over because they believe the driver is under the influence of marijuana. If the officer believes you are too impaired to drive you can be charged with a DWI, even without a drug test.

Along with receiving a DWI charge for marijuana, drivers can have their license suspended, be forced to pay fines, and even serve jail time. If a driver is under the influence of marijuana and injures another passenger, the driver can also be held responsible for injuries sustained by the passengers. 

Can the Police Search My Car If They Smell Marijuana? 

As of May 2023, it is illegal for the police to pull you over or search your car based solely on the scent or possession of marijuana.  However, if a driver is pulled over for poor driving, it is perfectly legal for the police to take the smell of marijuana into consideration for running a field sobriety test. 

Any other indicators of marijuana impairment such as slurred speech or red eyes can still be used as sole evidence for a DWI charge. If your DWI charge goes to court, an officer can still include the smell of marijuana as evidence, but it must be paired with other indicators of impairment.

What Happens if a Driver Hits Me While Marijuana Impaired?

It is impossible for officers to arrest everyone who breaks the law. If you were hit by a driver under the influence of marijuana and they did not receive a DWI charge, you can still file a claim. Driving high is a form of negligence, so while it can be difficult to prove a driver’s level of impairment, you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries.

Your chances of a successful claim improve if:

  • The driver was driving chaotically before the accident occurred
  • The driver had  red eyes, incoherent speech, or lack of coordination
  • You could smell marijuana on the driver or their car
  • Witness or passenger statements support your claim

Other factors may help prove your claim and with the help of an automobile accident attorney, you can gather the correct evidence needed. If you or a loved one suffered an injury in an accident caused by someone under the influence of marijuana, it is important that you contact an experienced automobile accident lawyer, like those at Lauenstein, today. 

Contact an Accident Attorney at Lauenstein Law Firm Today

Now that marijuana in Maryland has been legalized recreationally, the number of people injured by a driver under the influence of marijuana is expected to rise. Claims can be difficult to fill out and gathering the necessary evidence can be tricky. At Lauenstein Law Firm, our attorneys are experienced in automobile accidents and can help you file a claim against a driver who was under the influence of marijuana. 

Drug impaired driving is a serious danger to the driver and other passengers. If you or a loved one has sustained injuries from an automobile accident where the driver was under the influence of marijuana, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact one of our experienced attorneys at 410. 256. 0311. or fill out our form online. We can help you through the legal process and help fight for the compensation that you deserve.