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Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana in SC
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Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana in SC

When you think about Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charges, you normally think about someone who has had way too much to drink and decided to get behind the wheel of a car. That’s certainly a common situation for DUI cases, but you can also be charged with DUI if you're caught driving while using drugs, such as marijuana.

If you’ve been charged with DUI of marijuana, you need an attorney who can explain your rights and the decisions you will have to make. For now, let’s start with the basics.

It is illegal in South Carolina to drive under the influence of marijuana. This is the same charge as driving under the influence of alcohol, but with one major difference. You can drive with a little alcohol in your body, but it is illegal to drive with any amount of marijuana in your system. If marijuana shows up on a blood or urine test, you can be charged with DUI.

Common Questions About DUI Marijuana Charges

Once you’ve been arrested and charged with DUI, you certainly have questions about what is in your future. Here are answers to the most common questions clients ask about their DUI charges.

Will a conviction for driving under the influence of marijuana show up on my background check?

Yes. A conviction for DUI of marijuana will show up on a background check just like an alcohol-related DUI charge.

Is DUI of marijuana a drug charge in South Carolina?

No, it's not a “drug charge” like possession, possession with intent to distribute (PWID), or trafficking. However, you may also have drug charges from your arrest if marijuana was found in your car.

Is DUI of marijuana a misdemeanor or felony in SC?

Most DUI of marijuana charges are misdemeanors in SC. There are some circumstances when it is a felony. The most common example of when it is a felony is when driving under the influence causes great bodily injury or death to another person. For example, if after using marijuana you got into an accident in which someone died or were seriously injured, you may be charged with Felony DUI.

What is the test for DUI of marijuana?

The test for DUI of marijuana is the same for DUI of alcohol. A blood or urine test may be administered. The major difference between the two is the concentration requirement. ANY amount of marijuana in your system can get you charged with DUI. With alcohol, you have to have a certain amount of alcohol in your system at the time of your arrest to be charged with DUI.

Is a DUI of marijuana treated the same as a DUI of alcohol?

Yes, both DUI of marijuana and DUI of alcohol carry the exact same penalties.

Will my driver’s license be suspended?

Yes. Just as with a DUI of alcohol, your license may be suspended as a consequence of a DUI involving marijuana. An attorney may be able to help you get a restricted license for certain purposes such as driving to work or school.

Can I fight a DUI of marijuana charge?

Yes. Just as you can fight a DUI of alcohol charge, you can fight a DUI of marijuana charge. Law enforcement can sometimes make mistakes in the DUI process. If one is found in your case, it's possible, with the help of an attorney, to have your case dismissed. You should contact an experienced DUI attorney if you have been charged.

Penalties for DUI convictions

The chart below outlines the penalties you could face if you’re convicted of a DUI marijuana charge:

Offense Jail and Fine Driver’s license suspension
First 48 hours to 30 days in jail OR $400 fine 6 months
Second 5 days to 1 year in jail AND $2,100 to $5,100 fine 1 year
Third 60 days to 3 years in jail AND $3,800 to $6,300 fine 2 years (4 years if occurs within 5 years of 1st offense)
Fourth 1 to 5 years in jail Permanent revocation

Under SC law, the lookback period for prior DUI convictions is 10 years. In other words, if you get a DUI 11 years after a prior conviction, the latter DUI is considered your first offense for punishment purposes.

Get help with your marijuana DUI charge

Just as you should hire a lawyer to help you through dealing with a charge for DUI of alcohol, it's a good idea to hire a lawyer to help you through a DUI of marijuana. Having a DUI conviction on your record can affect many aspects of your life like your finances, employment and ability to drive. In some cases, an attorney can help get your DUI charge dropped. So talk with Lori Murray by calling 803-779-4472 or completing the online contact form to find out what your options are.

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