New York state passed the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) on March 31, 2021, legalizing the recreational use of marijuana for adults aged 21 and over. However, it is still possible to get arrested because you smoked it.
Here is what you need to know if you smoke weed and get pulled over.
Driving while impaired carries serious consequences
New York state allows adults to smoke marijuana in any public place that allows smoking tobacco. But they are not allowed to smoke it while inside a vehicle. Section 1192(4) of the Vehicle and Traffic law refers to Driving While Ability Impaired – Drugs (DWAI-Drugs), states, “Under our law, no person shall operate a motor vehicle while the person’s ability to operate such a motor vehicle is impaired by the use of a drug.”
Drug recognition experts receive specialized training to look for marijuana impairment during field sobriety tests. If the officers suspect marijuana use, they will require a blood test to check for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the chemical compound that produces psychoactive effects and impairment.
A first-time conviction of DWAI-Drugs carries a $500-1000 fine, up to a year in jail, and a one-year suspension of your driver’s license. If you are convicted three times, you can be fined $10,000 and serve up to 7 years in jail.
Just like alcohol, marijuana can impair your ability to drive. Driving while impaired, regardless of the substance, is illegal in most states. Therefore, it is important to know how marijuana can affect your driving ability so that you can make informed decisions about whether or not to get behind the wheel. If you’re planning on using marijuana recreationally, plan ahead and make arrangements for a safe ride home.