Driving under the influence of marijuana is a crime in New York. This article explains the penalties imposed for DUI violations, but other laws regarding marijuana possession may also apply to drivers and passengers.
For information about how New York treats marijuana possession, sale, and manufacture, see New York Marijuana Laws.
Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana
It is illegal to drive a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana, alcohol, other drugs, or a combination of substances. When alcohol is involved, a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent of the driver's blood, by volume, will conclusively establish that the driver is under the influence (if the level is less, the prosecutor can still point to the driver's actions to prove that he was under the influence).
When marijuana is involved, however, any amount of marijuana that was in the driver’s blood or urine while he was driving will establish that the driver was under the influence. (71 N.Y. Laws Ann. § 1192.)
Penalties for Driving Under the Influence
Penalties vary according to whether the offense is a first or subsequent conviction. And, while not described here, harsher penalties may apply if alcohol is also involved in the offense, or if a minor was in the vehicle at the time of the offense.
- First convictions. A defendant will face a fine of between $500 and $1,000, up to one year in jail, or both; and up to six months of license suspension.
- Second conviction within ten years. Penalties include a fine of between $1,000 and $5,000, at least five days in jail (and up to four years in prison), or both; and up to one year of license suspension. The judge may also order up to 30 days of community service, some of which may be completed in lieu of jail time (if approved by the judge); and participation in an alcohol or substance abuse education or treatment program.
- Third and subsequent convictions. Penalties include a fine of between $2,000 and $10,000, at least seven days in jail (and up to seven years in prison), or both; at least one year of license suspension; and use of an ignition interlock device after the suspension period ends.
An Important Note on Local Legal Representation
If you have been charged with a marijuana-related driving offense, consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. While the penalties and consequences of a marijuana charge are governed by statutory law, only a local criminal defense attorney can tell you how cases like yours tend to be handled by prosecutors and judges in your courthouse.