man smoking a marijuana joint while driving

The Overlap of Drug DUI and Drug Possession Charges

If a police officer sees you driving unusually or dangerously, they will likely pull you over for further investigation. If upon approaching your vehicle they can smell the scent of marijuana, they may begin to suspect drugged driving. In addition to this, they may request to search your car. If a search is conducted and drugs are found, it’s common for drivers to be charged with both DUI of drugs and drug possession.

Penalties for These Charges

If you are found driving under the influence and with drugs in your vehicle, you can face two charges.

Drugged driving is punishable by:

  • A fine of up to $300
  • License suspension for up to nine months
  • Mandatory ignition interlock device use
  • 24/7 sobriety program for one year

Drug possession penalties will depend on the type and quantity of drugs in your car.
For standard possession, you may face:

  • Up to six months in jail
  • A fine of up to $1,000
  • Additional consequences for drug paraphernalia

When The Police Can Search Your Vehicle

If you are stopped for drugged driving, you may be able to prevent additional drug possession charges by knowing when you do and do not have to consent to a vehicle search.

In general, the police are only allowed to conduct a warrantless search if you consent or if there is evidence in plain view—for example, drug paraphernalia on your passenger seat that is visible to the approaching officer.

However, there is a grey area when it comes to marijuana scent. In some states, the smell of marijuana does not give the police justification for a warrantless search. In Wisconsin, though, it does. Therefore, if the police officer smells marijuana emanating from your vehicle, this gives them the right to search without your consent.

The Best DUI Law Firm in Wisconsin

Drug DUI cases are complex, as they don’t use the same type of evidence or have a legal limit like alcohol DUI cases do. If you’re being charged with driving under the influence of an illicit substance in Wisconsin, contact Melowski & Singh, LLC today.