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DWAI – Marijuana

It is against the law for any motorist to drive a motor vehicle in New York while he or she is intoxicated. People commonly associate the criminal charges for these offenses—driving while ability impaired (DWAI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI)—with alcohol consumption, but the truth is that state law also criminalizes a person driving while he or she is under the influence of drugs.

Drugs are defined as being those listed under New York Public Health Law § 3306, and one of the drugs listed is marijuana (referred to in New York State Law as “marihuana”). Arrests for DWAI involving drugs have similar penalties to DWI arrests involving alcohol, but there are significant differences in how alleged offenders might be tested and what the burden of proof is for prosecutors in these cases.

Manhattan DWAI – Marijuana Lawyer

Have you been charged with driving while your ability was allegedly impaired by marijuana? You should immediately seek legal counsel.

As former DWI prosecutors, Jeff Greco and Dustan Neyland understand the strengths and weaknesses of these cases, and our New York City DWAI – marijuana attorneys thoroughly investigate the arrests and chemical tests to uncover any flaws or oversights that can help get charges against their clients reduced or dismissed. You can have our firm review your case during a free, confidential consultation by calling (212) 951-1300 right now.


New York City DWAI – Marijuana Information Center


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Manhattan DWAI – Marijuana Charges

A motorist can be charged with DWI if his or her blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 or higher. A BAC that is less than 0.08 but is 0.05 or higher can still result in DWAI charges.

However, drivers who are accused of driving while they are under the influence of marijuana can face criminal charges if a chemical test of their blood or urine reveals any amount of the drug in their system. There are two different statutes under Article 31 of New York Vehicle and Traffic Law that an alleged offender may be charged under in these cases:

  • Driving While Ability Impaired By Drugs, New York Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192.4 — A person cannot operate a motor vehicle while his or her ability to operate the motor vehicle is impaired by the use of any drug listed in New York Public Health Law § 3306, including marijuana
  • Driving While Ability Impaired By The Combined Influence of Drugs or of Alcohol and Any Drug or Drugs, New York Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192.4-a — A person cannot operate a motor vehicle while his or her ability to operate the motor vehicle is impaired by the combined influence of drugs listed in New York Public Health Law § 3306, including marijuana, or of alcohol and drugs listed in New York Public Health Law § 3306, including marijuana.

DWAI – Marijuana Penalties in New York City

The possible punishments that an alleged offender faces if he or she is convicted of a DWAI involving marijuana depend on whether it is the driver’s first offense or a subsequent arrest. The fines, imprisonment, and associated penalties increase as follows:

  • First Conviction — Misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail, fines of up to $1,000, and driver’s license suspended for six months
  • Second Conviction Within 10 Years — Class E felony punishable by up to four years in jail, fines of up to $5,000, and driver’s license revoked for one year
  • Third or Subsequent Conviction Within 10 Years — Class D felony punishable by up to seven years in jail, fines of up to $10,000, driver’s license revoked for one year, and mandatory installation of ignition interlock device (IID) in all motor vehicles owned or operated by alleged offender

It is important to note that the penalties listed above can actually be even more significant if there are certain aggravating factors, such as if an alleged offender is also charged with possession of marijuana or a child 15 years of age or less was a passenger in the alleged offender’s motor vehicle.


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DWAI – Marijuana Defenses in Manhattan

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive constituent (or cannabinoid) in marijuana, takes much longer for the body to metabolize and can thus appear in a person’s blood or urine several days or even weeks after the cannabis was originally smoked. Because a driver can be charged with a marijuana-related DWAI for any amount of the drug in his or her blood or urine, this means a positive test can result in a number of alleged offenders being arrested despite the fact that they were not under the influence of cannabis at the time they were behind the wheel.

In addition to challenging the accuracy of such test, other possible defenses against these types of DWAI charges may include, but are not limited to:

  • No reasonable suspicion to stop vehicle
  • Improperly administered chemical tests
  • Invalid field sobriety tests
  • Police videos contradict observations of arresting officers
  • Medical or health issues not relating to drug use explain alleged symptoms of marijuana use
  • Errors in handling of chemical tests

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Find the Best DWAI – Marijuana Lawyer in New York City

If you have been arrested and charged with allegedly being under the influence of marijuana while driving, it is critical for you to have experienced legal representation as soon as possible. Greco Neyland, PC fights to get the best outcomes for clients in the Manhattan area and all over New York City.

Jeff Greco and Dustan Neyland have handled these cases from both sides of the aisle, and we know what the best ways are to get these charges reduced or dismissed. Call (212) 951-1300 today to schedule a free legal consultation that will let our Manhattan DWAI – marijuana attorneys evaluate your case.

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Jeff Greco
Jeffery Greco
Experience as a former prosecutor gives Jeffery Greco an edge in building the strongest possible defense strategy for the accused in New York City.
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Dustan Neyland
Dustan Neyland
A thorough investigation is key to finding every reasonable doubt and getting charges reduced or dismissed for NYC defense attorney Dustan Neyland.
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