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South Dakota’s Stance on Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana Could Put You Behind Bars

Jeff Cole
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Partner at Zimmer, Duncan & Cole

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South Dakota takes a notoriously tough position against marijuana, and has yet to legalize any legal use of the drug despite the national trend leaning towards approved medicinal purposes. Possession and distribution charges—even for amounts below one ounce—come with serious fines and jail time.

There are few things that South Dakota law enforcement takes more seriously than driving under the influence. While alcohol is usually at the top of the list in a DUI stop, marijuana is considered another impairing substance that officers are trained to screen for.

South Dakota Maintains a Zero Tolerance Policy

Unlike alcohol, with well-known impairment levels and legal limits (0.08%), marijuana has not yet seen set standards for what levels cause impairment. While some states look for certain levels of THC and other marijuana metabolites in the blood or urine, South Dakota maintains a zero tolerance policy. This means that if you are found to have any amount of marijuana metabolite in your system while driving, you are considered to be under the influence.

Similar to an alcohol-related DUI conviction, punishments for marijuana-related DUIs increase in severity depending on whether you have been convicted previously. Currently, a first offense will include fines up to $2000 or jail time up to one year, or a combination of the two. A license suspension of one month to one year will also be imposed.

Because lawmakers in South Dakota have yet to establish a legal limit for marijuana in a driver’s system, the zero tolerance policy can wrongly incriminate people who may have metabolite left in their system for days despite no longer being under the influence. If you have been charged with a DUI involving marijuana, you will need a skilled attorney to ensure that your rights are protected.

If you or a loved one are facing marijuana-related DUI charges, click on our live chat feature to connect with our firm, and learn how our criminal defense lawyers can help protect you, your reputation, and your future.


Category: Criminal Defense


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