If You’re Arrested for Marijuana Possession, Will You Lose Your Driver’s License?
One of the most common questions we receive from people who have been arrested for marijuana possession is whether a conviction will result in a suspension or revocation of their driving privileges.
Thanks to a 2015 change in Georgia law, a simple possession charge does not result in a driver’s license suspension unless the person possessing the drug was operating a vehicle at the time of arrest. Previously, a first offense for pot possession resulted in a six-month license suspension even when the defendant was nowhere near a vehicle.
A license suspension or revocation becomes likely when the possession charge is paired with a marijuana-related charge of driving under the influence (DUI).
Charges of marijuana-related DUIs
Instances of drugged driving throughout the United States have become nearly as common as drunk driving. While drunk driving accidents have mostly plateaued, drugged driving crashes have skyrocketed, mostly due to abuse of prescription drugs and opioids.
The state of Georgia takes the issue of drugged driving seriously. A person charged with a DUI related to marijuana faces some harsh penalties, including license suspension. For example:
- First offense: A first-offense marijuana DUI will lead to at least 24 hours in jail with a maximum one-year term, a fine of $300 to $1,000, and a license suspension of up to one year.
- Second offense: A second offense marijuana DUI will lead to a fine of $600 to $1,000, incarceration for a period between 72 hours and one year, and a license suspension of up to three years.
The penalties become more severe with each subsequent offense. Regardless of the severity of the punishment, a DUI conviction could have a serious effect on your future, including your ability to get a job, attend college, join the military, get certain levels of security clearance, or receive more lenient sentences for future criminal convictions.
Although the “high” from marijuana usually only lasts a few hours, traces of the drug remain in the system for a week or more after use. This means a person who has not used marijuana recently could still be charged with DUI and face more severe penalties than they would for marijuana possession alone.
Whenever you face drug charges of any kind, it is important to have skilled legal counsel available to you. To learn more about the different types of drug crimes in Georgia and the defense strategies available, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the law office of James D. Michael, P.C.