Risks of Driving ‘High’

by | Sep 16, 2022 | Criminal | 0 comments

Police Officer: “Sir, how high are you?” Marijuana User: “No officer, it’s “Hi, how are you?” Just because it’s called a highway does not mean you’re allowed to drive high.

Marijuana Legality

Presently, 19 states and the District of Columbia, have legalized the recreational use of marijuana. North Dakota (for now) is not one of those. Although legalization of recreational marijuana has increased, marijuana is still considered a ‘drug’ by every state and the federal government. As with many drugs, their combined use with certain activities will not always be in your best interest and may even be illegal.


When people hear the term “DUI”, they often assume someone is referring to alcohol and only alcohol. In the state of North Dakota however, if a person is under the influence of marijuana while operating a vehicle, they too are at risk of being charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI).

The Law

North Dakota Century Code 39-08-01(1) is the governing statute regarding DUI’s. It reads, “A person may not drive or be in actual physical control of any vehicle upon a highway or upon public or private areas to which the public has a right of access for vehicular use in this state if … (c) That person is under the influence of any drug or substance or combination of drugs or substances to a degree which renders that person incapable of safely driving.” Regardless of the state and legality, if you decide to get ‘high’, do not drive.

Your Record

How will a marijuana DUI look on your record? N.D.C.C. 39-08-01(3) states, “An individual violating this section or equivalent ordinance is guilty of a class B misdemeanor for the first or second offense in a seven-year period of a class A misdemeanor for a third offense in a seven-year period, and of a class C felony for any fourth or subsequent offense within a fifteen-year period.” These are serious charges. Getting a marijuana DUI is not something your future employer will want to see on your record.

The Punishments

The punishments for a marijuana DUI are not light either, as N.D.C.C. 39-08-01(5)(a)(1) pronounces, “A person convicted of violating this section, or an equivalent ordinance, must be sentenced in accordance with this subsection … For a first offense, the sentence must include both a fine of at least five hundred dollars and an order for addiction evaluation by an appropriate licensed addiction treatment program.” The punishments are even harsher if someone is injured as a result of your driving under the influence of marijuana.

Don’t Go up in Smoke

Although you may see the marijuana leaf printed on just about anything these days, in North Dakota, recreational marijuana use remains a punishable crime. Not only that but combining use with driving may result in serious charges should you get caught. So, remember, the next time you think it’s a good idea to get ‘high as a kite’ (legally of course), call a ride and do not get behind the wheel.

Charged and Need Help?

If you or someone you know has been charged with driving under the influence (of alcohol, marijuana, or both), contacting an attorney may be in your best interest as they can help protect your legal rights throughout the process. Do not hesitate to contact Rosenquist Law Office at (701) 775-0654 or email us at lawinfo@rosenquistlawoffice.com to schedule your free consultation.

*The information contained in this article and on this website is for informational purposes only. This information is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as so.

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