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Driving in Missouri as a Cannabis Consumer – An Overview of Missouri’s DUI Laws

Missouri may be the home of Budweiser, but that doesn’t mean it takes a soft stance on DUIs. Drivers who fail to meet Missouri’s strict sobriety standards could easily land themselves in hot water. This is especially true for marijuana. While Missouri has introduced a medical marijuana program, it has a zero-tolerance policy on driving with THC in your system. Even medical card holders could face severe DUI penalties in the Show-Me State.

While most states follow similar DUI policies, there are specific penalties Missouri residents should understand. Having a firm grasp of Missouri’s DUI laws will help you understand the drastic risks of driving as a regular cannabis consumer.

 

What Qualifies As A DUI In Missouri?

 

When people refer to a DUI in Missouri, they’re typically talking about alcohol-induced crashes. No doubt, alcohol remains the predominant drug in Missouri’s DUI cases. However, that doesn’t mean all DUI offenses are related to a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC). Any intoxicating substance found in a drug test could lead to DUI charges and conviction.

This includes the detection of any product containing THC: flower, vapes, edibles, topicals and more. In fact, there’s no level of THC that’s permissible while driving in Missouri. Unlike the standard ≤ 0.08 percent BAC for drivers over 21, police could convict drivers with a DUI if they have any detectable THC in their bloodstream or urine.

Since THC metabolites could remain in a person’s system hours, or even days, after taking marijuana, drivers could fail DUI tests even if they don’t feel “high.” Indeed, the more a person takes marijuana, the greater the risk of failing a drug test in Missouri.

 

So, What are the Laws Surrounding a Cannabis DUI?

 

Most DUI stops begin with some sort of traffic violation like speeding or rolling through a stop sign. Once a driver is pulled over, the police officer may ask questions or notice behavior that leads to suspicion of driving under the influence.

Police officers could also call a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) to the scene to perform tests to determine your sobriety. Physiological indicators of cannabis use include heightened blood pressure, trembling eyelids, pupil dilation, and bloodshot eyes. Many DREs also ask drivers to cross their eyes to see if they’ve been smoking marijuana. Police could potentially use all of the data from these tests against a DUI suspect.

Just remember that even if you’re on the state’s medical-marijuana program, you’ll face the same DUI penalties if police detect ANY THC in your bloodstream.

FYI: Missouri drivers have the right to call an attorney 20 minutes before taking any DUI-related tests. Plus, even if you submit tests to responding officers, you can request a second test from the following:

  • Physician
  • Technician
  • Chemist
  • Registered nurse

 

Can You Decline A Drug Test For Cannabis In Missouri?

 

Section 577.020 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri says that anyone who drives a vehicle has already consented to submit a chemical test to law enforcement. As long as police have a justifiable cause to pull you over—or you’re in line at a scheduled DUI checkpoint—you must submit to a chemical trial. This test is typically done on a breathalyzer machine, but it may include a blood sample, saliva swab, or urinalysis. Drivers who don’t comply with this test face a one-year revocation on their driver’s license. Remember, if you have questions about what to do during a traffic stop in Missouri, please contact a licensed attorney who can give you legal advice.

Unlike searching a residence, police don’t need a warrant to search your vehicle if they have a solid reason to assume you’ve been smoking pot. A few common factors that are permissible for probable cause include:

  • Traces of cannabis in your car.
  • The scent of marijuana.
  • Your answers to an officer’s questions.

 

What Happens After A First-Time Missouri DUI?

 

Determining the specific fines or jail time in a DUI case depends on many factors, including whether anyone was injured and how high your BAC was, and many other factors. However, 577.010 of Missouri’s Revised Statutes defines a standard first-time DUI offense as a class B misdemeanor. This penalty carries a max fine of $500, a 30-day license suspension, and a max jail time of six months. It’s also likely that your car will be towed and impounded, and you’ll probably have to miss work to attend multiple hearings. If you were convicted of a THC offense, you will also have to go through a Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program. Every case is different, and even first-time offenders will benefit from expert legal advice.

 

What Happens After Multiple DUIs In Missouri?

 

Typically, a second DUI conviction in Missouri within five years of the previous DUI is a class A misdemeanor. In this case, you will have to stay in prison for at least ten days. At most, second-time DUI offenders will face one year in prison (with possible two-year probation) and $1,000 in fines. Missouri law also allows for a license suspension of up to five years.

The third time Missouri drivers are charged with a DUI, they will face felony charges—class D, to be specific. In this scenario, drivers may have to pay a fine of $5,000, lose their license for three years, and stay in jail for four years. Even if the jail sentence gets “suspended,” third-time DUI offenders must perform 60 days of community service.

 

Bottom Line: Don’t Drive High In Missouri

 

The Show-Me State has little leniency for DUI offenses, especially when they involve THC. Missourians who have any THC in their bloodstream will face severe and costly DUI penalties anywhere in the state. It doesn’t matter if you’re on Missouri’s MMJ program; this Midwestern State has a zero-tolerance policy for THC while driving. A first time DUI could cost up $8,000 including fines, fees and legal expenses. Everyone living in Missouri should take these laws seriously.

If you’re a cannabis consumer concerned about potential DUI charges is Missouri please click here to learn how reepher pays up to $15,000 in cannabis DUI expenses.

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