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Oct. 28, 2016

Even though marijuana is now legal in Alaska for recreational purposes, it does not mean it is also legal to get behind the wheel after using the drug. In fact, Alaska law expressly states that a person may be convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) if he or she operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance, including marijuana.

If convicted, you may face the same penalties as a person who decides to drive after drinking too much, including:

  • First Offense: $1,500 fine, 72 hours in jail, 90 day license suspension and installation of ignition interlock device (IID)

  • Second Offense: $3,000 fine, 20 days in jail, one-year license suspension and installation of ignition interlock device (IID)

  • Third Offense: $4,000 fine, 60 days in jail, three-year license suspension and installation of ignition interlock device (IID)

If police pull you over and they suspect you are driving while impaired by marijuana, they may ask you to submit to testing - including urine or blood analyses - in order to determine whether you have THC in your system, which is the active intoxicating agent in marijuana.

Interestingly, unlike DUIs involving alcohol, there is no expressed legal limit when it comes to THC levels, meaning police have a great deal of discretion when deciding whether or not to arrest you.

Can I refuse marijuana testing after being arrested?

If you refuse blood or urine testing, it is important to remember that you may face additional penalties for doing so. For instance, while police often need a warrant - or your consent - to test your blood, they may still try to punish you under the state's implied consent law if you attempt to refuse after a valid arrest.

In any case, it is best to stay silent and not give expressed consent until you have had a chance to speak with an attorney. All you need to do is tell police in a polite, yet firm, manner that you wish to speak to a lawyer.

Contact an attorney right away

Given the complex nature of Alaska's DUI laws, particularly in the context of marijuana use and test refusals, it is always advisable to consult with an attorney if you are ever facing arrest or DUI-related charges. An experienced lawyer can explain your legal options and help protect your rights.

At the Law Offices of Dan Allan & Associates, we understand how overwhelming DUI charges can be, especially when your license and future are at risk. Contact us today to learn how we can help you.