Marijuana DUI Accident Lawyers Providing Compassionate Legal Representation to Injured Victims in Seattle, Washington
Have you or a loved one been injured in a car accident caused by a driver who had been high from using marijuana at the time of the crash? At least one study has indicated that medical and recreational marijuana usage could cause a driver to be almost twice as likely to get in a motor vehicle accident if they get behind the wheel.
Unfortunately, with the legalization of marijuana use in Washington State, we have seen an uptick in marijuana DUI charges and car accidents. Of course, though marijuana may be legal in Washington now, that does not mean that the drug is free of laws and regulations. If you drive a vehicle while using high on a drug like marijuana, you can be convicted of a marijuana DUI.
Despite the marijuana laws in the state, however, every day, people think that they’re able-minded enough to drive despite their THC being well over the legal limit for anyone operating an automobile. The results can be criminal charges for the driver and something far more tragic for any of their victims, who may suffer catastrophic injuries or even die from their wounds.
Those who have been hurt by negligent drivers under the influence of marijuana have the right to seek compensation for their pain and suffering. Though the fault may rest entirely with the individual who took the drug and drove their car into yours, the insurance companies may not offer an adequate settlement for your medical expenses and potentially lost wages.
Contact the Washington State law firm of Khan Injury Law to speak with an attorney well-versed in marijuana law and the hoops that personal injury victims are expected to jump through in order to receive fair compensation. We have law offices across the state in cities like Seattle, Kent, Tacoma, and Tukwila. Contact our firm today and schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your personal injury claim.
How Does the Use of Marijuana Cause Car Accidents?
While many of us know the dangers of drinking and driving, far fewer understand the inherent dangers of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of a drug such as marijuana. This is likely at least in part because more people have drunk alcohol or regularly been around those that do than there are people who have done drugs like marijuana. And when people talk about DUI charges, almost everyone automatically assumes that the DUI charge in question relates to driving under the influence of alcohol.
Generally speaking, marijuana may be less damaging to the user’s body than intoxicating liquor and certainly has fewer addictive properties than either alcohol or cigarettes. However, when a driver of a car is high on drugs, they can be just as dangerous as any drunk.
A high amount of THC can affect a driver in ways such as:
- Distorted perception.
- Poor eye-hand coordination.
- Random thoughts and behaviors.
- Slowed reaction time.
Is the Legalization of Recreational Marijuana Linked to an Uptick in Marijuana DUI Accidents?
In 2013, the last year that marijuana was not legal for recreational use in Washington, the drug was involved in an estimated 8% of traffic-related fatalities. In 2014, the year that weed became legal in the state, the number of fatalities linked to marijuana usage shot up to 17%.
Whether someone is using recreation or medical marijuana, the stats show that their actions are dramatically slowed, and their perception is dangerously altered.
Science does show that someone with a lot of THC in their system may be aware of being stoned, unlike a drunk who doesn’t realize how drunk they are, but sadly these individuals still mistakenly think themselves capable of driving a car.
What Are the Penalties for Marijuana-Related DUI Convictions in Washington?
At the scene of the arrest, the driver suspected of being high on marijuana will have to undergo a blood test. Suppose the test shows that the driver has a THC concentration of 5.0 or higher within two hours of driving. In that case, they can be charged with a gross misdemeanor marijuana DUI for operating a vehicle over the legal limit of marijuana.
A conviction for a marijuana DUI charge is very similar to the state’s DUI laws regarding the use of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. Every DUI conviction has the potential for jail time, fines, and even driver’s license suspension. Under current laws, those charged with a marijuana DUI will be charged with a gross misdemeanor.
The first offense of a DUI can result in jail time lasting between 30 days to a year, a fine between $500 and $5,000, some combination of the two, and possibly license suspension.
The second offense carries similar penalties, plus probation and a potential to see the driver’s license suspended for up to two years.
A third and fourth offense can result in jail time between 90 days and a year, fines between $1,000 and $5,000, some combination of those two punishments, plus probation and license suspension for three years.
Contact the Law Firm of Khan Injury Law to Schedule a Free Consultation
Those who have been injured in marijuana DUI accidents should hire an attorney without delay. As your legal representatives, your lawyers can represent you in court and take the burden off your shoulders as you pursue a fair settlement.