Can you be arrested for being high? With all the new laws taking place around the country, this question has been asked more frequently. Let’s take a look at if you are high will you be arrested.
July 2018 was the date that we saw 30 states legalize Marijuana for medicinal purposes as being legal, eight of those states have said that marijuana use is legal for recreational use as well. More specifically a question that is asked a lot is: Can I be high on marijuana in public? Here is what you should know. Most states that are weed-legal still have public intoxication laws in place. These laws are in place and state that you can’t be in public if you are indicated by THC, alcohol, or other substances. With that said if you have a few drinks and head out to dinner or dancing you probably will not get arrested as long as your not disrupting the public and acting crazy. Same will hold true for marijuana.
The Laws regarding Marijuana use change at an incredibly fast pace. It is difficult to keep up with laws that change daily or weekly. A great resource to check in with is by disa.com. They provide updated laws on Marihuana for medical and recreational use by each state. To learn more about this and to follow the laws you can click here.
Using Marijuana in public is against the law almost always
We would suggest that you think of using Marijuana in public as against the law. Even though states like Colorado there are rules for using Marijuana in public places. The laws from state to state are not clear and it would be wise not to public smoke or use Marijuana. Odds are there are some laws that would likely have you breaking the law on Marijuana use.
Getting stoned or high causes changes to your behavior and how you feel. Regardless of what reasons you use Marijuana for you could feel some or all of these types of feelings:
- Distorted perceptions
- Slower reaction time
- Mild anxiety or giddiness
- Low coordination
With that said you could see some side effects if you were in a public place that may seem out of place. Keep in mind that Marijuana today is much more potent then years ago. This could cause severe physical side effects with the increased amount of THC in the weed available today. This could lead to psychotic symptoms or disconnect from reality.
Signs someone is on Marijuana can be dramatic from person to person. with that said there are some common symptoms when someone is on Marijuana:
- Red eyes
- Uncontrollable giggling
- Talking about unrelated things in a conversation
- Lack of energy
- Delayed reaction
- bad coordination
- increased appetite or binge eating
Laws on Public Intoxication
Public Intoxication also is known as being drunk and disorderly is when someone is drunk in public. Again this law widely varies from state to state but one common theme is that the person usually has to show obvious signs of obnoxious or disruptive behavior to the public. Now we know that being high and drunk have different effects so it may be difficult for law enforcement to determine if you are high.
Officers may arrest you for being high only if you:
- Endanger another persons property
- Endanger someone
- Smoke marijuana or other drugs in public
- Cause a disturbance in public
Still, you would need to be disorderly or cause havoc in public. Typically when you are high this is not the case. This is assuming that you are not behind a vehicle or anything of the sorts where a DUI charge can be had.
If you have a small amount of Marijuana can I still get arrested for possession?
Yes. possession of Marijuana unlike being high in public is illegal. Unless you possess a prescription for Marijuana. Again, this depends on where you are located of you possess less than 20 grams it could be a civil issue rather than a criminal issue.
But keep in mind this will depend on what state your in and even down to what county you are in. If an officer pulls you over and he feels you are under the influence of Marijuana he can search your vehicle and possibly arrest you.
What penalties could you face for being high in public?
First off an officer would have to have reason to arrest you. This means you either would have to be causing some sort of disorderly intoxication or the officer must feel like you are extremely inebriated on something. If you get arrested for a second-degree misdemeanor you could face something similar to these charges:
- Pay a fine from 250 -1000 depending on where you are located and/or
- Up to 60 days in jail
If you get arrested for being high what should you do?
Hire a criminal defense lawyer if possible to hand your case. An experienced attorney can help you reduce fines, jail time, and much more. Typically an initial consultation is free so you have nothing to lose. If a state has already filed charges a good attorney can try to secure a plea bargain or even push for probation or fewer penalties rather then facing jail time.
Error on the side of caution regardless of what the law may say
While it depends on what state you’re in the current laws are two gray as of yet on being high in public and if you could be arrested for being high. We would suggest you not smoking or using any forms of Marijuana in public.
If you do go out in public high and you’re not causing disorderly actions you should be okay. Also never get behind a vehicle of any kind while drinking or being high. You can hurt yourself or others and you will be arrested if pulled over. It is best to not be high in public just because of the situations of laws that are just to gray right now.