Marijuana and changes to drugged driving charges

On Behalf of | Mar 10, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

While marijuana is still an illegal drug in Indiana, there is a new standard for convicting a driver found to be under the influence of the substance.

There are bills in the Senate and the House to decriminalize the possession of cannabis and establish a medical marijuana allowance. Until these bills become law, Indiana drivers receive different treatment under Indiana Senate Bill 201.

Indiana cannabis laws

Possession of fewer than 30 grams is a misdemeanor and is subject to jail time or a steep fine. Prior convictions on a person’s record increase the penalty and the classification, with possession of more than 30 grams becoming a felony charge.

Indiana drugged driving laws

The law breaks down drugged driving into driving under the influence of drugs either based on impairment or a per se charge. In a per se DUID, the charge rests on the discovery of a measurable amount of a schedule I or II qualifying substance in the driver’s system. A charge based on impairment requires proof of impairment in the driver’s thoughts or actions or a loss of normal faculties.

Under Senate Bill 201, drivers found with marijuana in their system can avoid a DUI charge based on several factors. These include:

  • The driver showed no signs of impairment
  • The driver did not cause an accident

If a driver meets these criteria, the new law prevents charges.

The state continues to criminalize possession of marijuana, as lawmakers have not yet voted on proposed new bills. Thanks to other changes, the presence of cannabis in the blood alone does not guarantee a DUI charge.