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Home 9 Blog 9 Pennsylvania Drugged Driving

In Pennsylvania, a person is guilty of DUI if he/she drives (1) with any amount of a Schedule I controlled substance under the Controlled Substance Act in his/her blood, (2) with a metabolite of a schedule I substance in his/her blood, (3) under the influence of a drug or combination of drugs to a degree which impairs his/her ability to safely drive, OR (4) under the combined influence of alcohol and a drug or combination of drugs to a degree which impairs the individual’s ability to safely drive.   75 C.S.A Section 3802 (d)(1)-(3).

The Pennsylvania legislature has criminalized driving while a cannabis metabolite is present in an operator’s system even absent impairment.  There is, however, a certain threshold for concentration of illicit metabolites that must be met before the results of a chemical test indicating cannabis metabolites can be introduced as evidence.

The Pennsylvania Bulletin, Vol. 34, issue 7 initially specified the threshold for THC or its metabolites at 5 nanograms per milliliter.  However, this minimum threshold was amended to 1 ng/ml.

Any amount of cannabis metabolites at or above this level can be introduced as evidence of a per se violation of the statute proscribing operation with Schedule I metabolites and can be introduced in a proceeding for prosecution for driving while impaired by drugs—or drugged driving. However, the mere presence of metabolites is not enough to convict for the offense of impairment.  In such a proceeding the state must show actual impairment.

Penalties:

  • First offense misdemeanor – imprisonment for a minimum of 72 consecutive hours, maximum imprisonment of 6 months; fine of not less than $1,000, and not more than $5,000; offender is required to attend alcohol highway safety school; license suspension of at least 12 months.
  • Second Offense misdemeanor – imprisonment for a minimum of 90 days up to 5 years; fine of not less than $1,500; offender required to attend alcohol highway safety school; license suspension of at least 18 months (ignition interlock after 9 months).
  • Third and subsequence offense – Felony of the Third Degree, jail sentence from 1 to 7 years; license suspension for 18 months (ignition interlock after 9 months); fines ranging from $2,500 to $15,000.

Per Se Drugged Driving Laws

Pennsylvania has a per se drugged driving law enacted for cannabis, cannabis metabolites, and other controlled substances.

Call Marinaro Law at 1 (717) 397-7055

Michael V. Marinaro

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