Driving under the influence of marijuana is a crime in West Virginia. 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 West Virginia treats marijuana possession, sale, and manufacture, see West Virginia 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. (W.Va. Code Ann. § 17C-5-2.)
Penalties for Driving Under the Influence
Penalties vary according to whether the offense is a first of subsequent conviction, with increased penalties for offenses committed while a minor was in the vehicle. It is also a crime to knowingly allow one's car to be driven by a person who is under the influence, or for a habitual drug user to drive any vehicle.
- First conviction. Penalties include a fine of between $100 and $5,000, up to six months in jail, or both; and at least 90 days (and up to 6 months) of license suspension.
- Second conviction within ten years. Penalties include a fine of between $1,000 and $3,000, between six months and one year in jail, or both; and at least five years (and up to ten years) of license suspension.
- Third and subsequent convictions. Penalties include a fine of between $3,000 and $5,000, between one and three years in prison, or both; and at least ten years (and up to a lifetime) of license suspension.
- Allowing an under-the-influence driver to use your vehicle. Allowing someone who is under the influence to use your vehicle is a misdemeanor, and may result in a fine of between $100 and $500, up to six months in jail, or both.
- DUI with a minor in the vehicle. An offense that occurs while a minor who is 16 years old or younger is in the vehicle, incurs a fine of between $200 and $1,000, between two days and one year in jail, or both.
- Habitual drug users. A person who habitually uses drug may not drive a vehicle in West Virginia. Doing so is a crime, and may incur a fine of between $100 and $500, at least 24 hours (and up to six months) in jail, or both.
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.