What are the Penalties for Drugged Driving in MA?
Drugged driving charges can have severe consequences for individuals in Massachusetts.
In Massachusetts and across the United States, perspectives on marijuana use and possession are changing. In recent years, for example, medical marijuana has been legalized here in Massachusetts. In addition, the penalties for possession of small quantities of marijuana have significantly been reduced.
Nevertheless, although perceptions about the use of marijuana have primarily changed, problems still often arise when someone is pulled over for a traffic violation and the police officer suspects they are under the influence of marijuana.
Drugged Driving Charges in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts, the law prohibits anyone from operating a vehicle under the influence of certain drugs, including marijuana. The problem with this designation is that determining whether or not an individual is "under the influence" of drugs or marijuana can be difficult. For instance, in cases involving marijuana, even if the level of THC - the ingredient in marijuana that causes a high - in the blood is measured, the effect that THC has on every individual is different. For instance, frequent marijuana users may maintain a high THC level even long after the effects of the substance have worn off.
Consequently, the penalties associated with a drugged driving conviction in Massachusetts can be alarmingly severe. Upon a first conviction for operating a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana, an individual may face the following consequences:
- A fine of between $500 and $5,000
- A jail sentence of up to two and one-half years
- A license suspension for one year
The penalties become even more severe when an individual has more than one offense. Upon a second conviction for drugged driving in Massachusetts, for instance, the penalties may increase to:
- A jail sentence for two to 30 months
- A potential fine of between $600 and $10,000
- A license suspension for two years
- A license suspension for two years
Even with an alternative disposition, you face a mandatory in-patient program of 14 days with aftercare. Those charged with three or more drugged driving offenses may face felony charges. The possible penalties depend on whether it is a third, fourth, or fifth offense and can include:
- A fine of between $1,000 to $15,000
- Minimum mandatory sentences Possible license suspension from anywhere between eight years for a third offense to a lifetime loss of license on a fifth offense
Consult With a Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney
The penalties for drugged driving in Massachusetts are stringent, despite significant confusion when an individual is impaired while operating a vehicle with marijuana or another drug in their system. If you are facing charges of drugged driving in Massachusetts, you need to seek the counsel of a skilled criminal defense attorney. The lawyers at Sweeney and Associates, LLC are aware of the severity of such charges and will work diligently on your behalf.
Call (617) 300-0212 or request your complimentary consultation to get started.
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