Suspended Driver’s License Following Marijuana Charges

Utah residents can expect to have their driver’s license suspended following a DUI, yet they may be surprised when they lose their license following marijuana charges which were not acquired when behind the wheel.

DUI

Photo by: Nate Steiner

Photo by: Nate Steiner

Anyone who is found guilty for a DUI in Utah which includes driving with any measurable amount of a drug in their system can face anywhere from two days up to six months in jail and have their license suspended for:
• 120 days for individuals 21 years of age or older,
• One year or until age 21 for individuals who are 19 or 20 years old, or
• Until age 21 for individuals under age 19.
A driver’s license may be revoked if there are previous arrests for the same charges.

Utah Controlled Substances Act

A DUI isn’t the only marijuana charge that can end in a driver’s license being suspended. In Utah, cultivating, distributing, or even simple possession of marijuana or drug paraphernalia may result in a driver’s license being suspended for six months. Even a failed attempt to possess marijuana can result in the same suspension.

Safeguard your license after a marijuana charge

License Suspension after Marijuana Charges

Photo by: Kat

Losing a license can make it difficult or nearly impossible for some Utah residents to attend school or make it to they place of employment. Anyone facing marijuana charges should consult with a criminal defense attorney regarding protecting their driving rights. An experienced attorney can help an individual keep their driver’s license whether through helping to prove no fault or through a plea in abeyance, which may end in a fine but no driver’s license suspension.

DUI for Driving with Traces of Marijuana Metabolites in System

Drivers in Utah can be arrested for a DUI days and even weeks after getting high due to traces of marijuana metabolites remaining in the system.

Up to 6 months imprisonment

Photo by: Nate Steiner

Photo by: Nate Steiner

Utah code 41-6a-517 states “a person may not operate or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle within this state if the person has any measurable controlled substance or metabolite of a controlled substance in the person’s body.” So what is a metabolite or what is considered a “measurable controlled substance”?

Marijuana metabolites

THC is the element in marijuana that gives users a “high”, while a metabolite is an inactive part of the drug that stays in the body much longer than a high lasts. A few drug metabolites such as those from cocaine are water soluble, meaning they are metabolized and flushed from the system rather quickly. THC-COOH, the marijuana metabolite commonly tested for in drug tests, is fat soluble and can remain in a system for weeks after getting high, especially for frequent users.

Metabolize fast or take the bus

Photo by: Steven Depolo

Photo by: Steven Depolo

For any marijuana users that need to drive in the coming up days or weeks, it might be wise to take public transportation until all traces of metabolites have processed through the system. Unlike neighboring states, Utah currently has a zero tolerance policy and persons charged of driving with a measurable controlled substance can be found guilty of a class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail. If facing a metabolite DUI, consult with an attorney immediately.

Saratoga Springs Bus Driver Arrested For Possible DUI

A bus driver transporting special needs children in Saratoga Springs Utah was arrested last week for a possible DUI.

DUI or unsure footing?

DUI

Photo by: ThoseGuys119

52 year old Sherry Lund was transporting a small group of special needs kids from an Alpine School District elementary when a parent noticed her stumble getting a child off the bus. Allegedly, Lund did not recover immediately from her fall and stayed on the ground while the parent called police. By the time officers arrived, Lund had reentered the bus and left.

No breathalyzer test reported

When officers located Lund, they detected the smell of alcohol. No information has been given regarding whether or not she was given a breathalyzer, however Lund supposedly failed a field sobriety test. Lund, who has served as a bus driver for two decades, was placed on administrative leave and arrested for a possible DUI.

Field sobriety test

Field Sobriety Test

Photo by: Jeffrey Smith

More information may come to light during the investigation of Lund’s supposed DUI; however as of now her arrest is said to be based off of the alcohol smell and a failed field sobriety test. Field sobriety tests such as walking a straight line or saying the ABC’s backwards have been under scrutiny lately with experts stating that the tests may produce a false DUI. This can be due to an innocent mistake either by the arresting officer or the individual suspected of a DUI.

Wait for a legitimate test

Photo by: KOMOnews

Photo by: KOMOnews

When a DUI is suspected, waiting for a legitimate test such as a breathalyzer or a blood or urine test is encouraged. No one is legally required to participate in a field sobriety test and with their high fail rate, they are more than likely a waste of time. If a test of breath, blood, or urine does confirm an alcohol limit over what is legally allowed, a criminal defense attorney is recommended.