THC in urine: 1 dash - no THC: 2 dashes

Can I drive a car if I am a pothead?

Smoking pot and fitness to drive

The road traffic office is also interested in drug use. In case of consumption of hard drugs, the driver's license is generally confiscated. Driving licenses for cabs or trucks are generally revoked even in the case of mere hemp consumption, the normal car license should not necessarily be confiscated. However, this practice is nowhere laid down in writing - there may well be differences between the cantonal road traffic offices. However, the Federal Court is also of the opinion that occasional hemp consumption alone does not justify the withdrawal of an identification card. However, this is not a free pass for smoking pot at the wheel, but only an aggravation for the driver's license withdrawal. In its decision, the Federal Court only stated that someone is not automatically considered to be drug-impaired (and thus unfit to drive) because he consumes hashish twice a week. And twice a week is really not that often. But the Federal Court is also of the opinion that someone who is caught with a joint at the wheel should be treated in the same way as someone who drives drunk.

Driver's license revocation

If, for any reason (e.g. information from the police who have caught someone smoking pot), the Road Traffic Authority is informed that someone is using THC, it considers whether the person's cannabis use poses a risk to road traffic. If it comes to the conclusion that this is the case (e.g. because the person concerned has been found to use cannabis at the wheel or to use it regularly), then a precautionary suspension, i.e. a withdrawal of the driver's license for an indefinite period, can take place. Then a psychiatric opinion must be obtained to clarify the suspicion. Depending on the outcome of this medical examination, the driver's license is then returned (possibly with conditions) or it remains confiscated. However, this whole procedure quickly costs over a thousand francs. Each appeal against decisions of the road traffic office, which one raises, needs a cost advance, which can amount again to several hundred francs.

Conditions instead of withdrawal

An alternative to the immediate withdrawal of the driver's license is to keep the driver's license, but with conditions. For example, urine tests may be required. These also contribute to the costs. And then it is also recommended to go through the whole thing with a lawyer (and that costs again). Because nothing good happens on its own. If you want to get your driver's license back or keep it, you have to do a lot. If the lawyer knows something about administrative law and supports you actively, success is possible in many cases.

However, it must also be taken into account that each individual case is judged with its own peculiarities (e.g. reputation/prior convictions; is there a concrete traffic law violation in addition to the consumption? And often it is also viewed very subjectively by the doctors and case workers involved. Basically, they have to prove that the accused is unfit to drive. And that, of course, is a process that depends very much on the people involved, their subjective assessments, and whether they get along. If they don't, the involvement of a lawyer can often result in fairer treatment.

In principle, the Federal Supreme Court believes that even if a large amount of cannabis is ingested, which is likely to impair the ability to drive, it cannot be concluded without further ado that the person concerned is not fit to drive. According to the Federal Supreme Court, this rather depends on whether one is able to sufficiently separate cannabis consumption and road traffic.

Last modified: 2023/12/22 21:16

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Legal overview

Shit happens 15 (Summer 2023)

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