Marijuana Laws & Driving Under the Influence in New York

In recent months, New York State legalized the recreational use of marijuana. However, merely because the State has chosen to legalize the drug’s recreational use does not mean that New Yorkers are now free to drive while under its influence.

 

Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana in New York

What are the penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana? 

The penalties vary depending on the type of offense, and the individual’s prior history of such offenses. If it is a first conviction, the defendant could be fined anywhere from $500 to $1,000, one year in jail, and possible six-month license revocation. If it is a second offense, then the person is subject to a fine of $1,000 to $5,000, up to four years in state prison, and up to one-year license suspension. If it is a third offense, the person is subject to $2,000 to $10,000 fine, up to 7 years in prison, at least one-year license suspension, and forced use of ignition interlock device after license suspension is lifted. If the repeated offenses are within a certain number of years, various other penalties can come into play such as permanent revocation of a license and face higher fines and jail time.

What is the difference between DWI and DWAI?

A DWI stands for Driving while Intoxicated and is charged when someone has a .08 Blood Alcohol Content or higher. A DWAI/Drug stands for Driving While Ability Impaired by a single drug other than alcohol. Both hold similar penalties, except that there is no baseline amount required to be found in an individual’s system which would mandate a charge of DWAI/Drug.

Do breathalyzers work for weed?  

Although many, both in government and in the private sector, are working to create a breathalyzer to detect if a driver is under the influence of marijuana, there is not currently a tool law enforcement uses to evaluate a driver’s level of influence from the drug.

How will drivers be tested?

The police use field sobriety tests to evaluate the driver’s impairment and usually ask for a blood sample to confirm there are drugs in someone’s system.

 

Other Common Questions About Marijuana in New York State

Can I smoke Marijuana in public?

Unlike some other states which preceded New York in legalizing marijuana possession and use, New York State does in fact permit individuals to smoke weed outdoors, and in virtually every setting in which tobacco use is already permitted. Included among the exceptions to this relatively clear rule is smoking in a car, where tobacco use is permitted, but smoking marijuana is not.

How much marijuana am I allowed to possess at any given time?

Under the new law, New Yorkers will be allowed to possess up to three ounces of weed for their recreational use at any time. Further, they will be allowed to possess up to 24 grams of concentrated cannabis, such as THC oils. In their homes, New Yorkers will be allowed to store up to five pounds of the

drug, but the law requires that under such situations an individual take “reasonable steps” to make sure it is stored safely and securely.

When will licensed recreational marijuana dispensaries be open in New York?

While medical marijuana dispensaries are already located throughout the State, their ranks will soon be joined by dispensaries for recreational use as well. Rules and regulations governing the sale of marijuana are still being outlined, and sales from dispensaries are not expected to begin until early 2022