Without established legal limits for marijuana like the blood alcohol content limit of .08 %, how does the law treat motorists who drive while they are high? Will the courts in Michigan treat driving while impaired by marijuana as misdemeanors or felonies? Both medical and recreational marijuana is legal in Michigan, but without legal limits and legislation, prosecutors are left to deal with the facts of each case.
According to a survey that was done by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, most drivers do not think they will get pulled over by law enforcement if they drive after using marijuana. Reportedly, marijuana’s impairing effects are most significant for the four hours after use, and during that time, drivers face double the risk of crashing. Law enforcement officers nationwide receive training to recognize drivers who are high, and experiments continue in the development of effective roadside tests.
Safety authorities say driving after the recent use of marijuana impairs the judgment and reaction times of drivers, putting lives at risk. The fact that marijuana is legal does not make it safe for use before driving. As with driving under the influence of alcohol, driving high can have severe legal consequences.
Whether those who are caught driving high will face misdemeanors or felonies will depend on specific facts of each case. The level of impairment will play a role as well as the severity of injuries or fatalities that result from an accident. First offenses will likely be misdemeanors, while second and third arrests might be charged as felonies. Whichever the case, the sensible thing for anyone in Michigan to do after being arrested for driving high is to retain the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect his or her legal rights.